University of Tasmania
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Religion and morality in the philosopy of education : a dissertation on the positivism of D. J. O'Connor's \Introduction to the philosophy of education\" with special reference to the final chapter"

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:28 authored by Clarke, DB
This essay is basically an analysis of the last chapter of Professor D.J. O'Connor's book An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. It is generally critical of that book's positivist stance and examines three matters in particular: the Verification Principle, the possibility of Metaphysics, and the nature of Ethical Judgements as O'Connor deals with them. The Introduction draws attention to the fact that the book accepts the viewpoint of contemporary philosophical analysis. It points out that the author is anti-speculative and anti-metaphysical, and that nonetheless he embraces an extreme empiricist position with rationalist writing. It draws attention to the influence the book seems to have had upon student teachers despite its sweeping generalizations. It recognises the value of linguistic analysis but questions whether a thorough philosophical study of the matters raised in the book would lead to the conclusions drawn by Professor O'Connor. Chapter I The Verification Principle emphasizes the difficulties which A.J. Ayer's thesis met and which the author seems not wholly to recognise. Not only is the formulation of the principle open to question but its verification is impossible if we are to accept it in logical positivist terms. Modern views of language mice it very difficult to apply simple dichotomies. A criticism follows of O'Connor's use of the word \experience\" and his implied definition of \"knowledge\". It is argued that his conception of \"knowledge\" and his conception of \"theory\" are both ill-founded. Three theories are then referred to as respectable theories which would be rejected out of hand by O'Connor's methods: first Chomsky's theory of language acquisition secondly Hick's eschatological approach to the verification of faith and thirdly Boyce Gibson's contention that verification is a \"gradually widening conviction\". Finally there is a discussion of the phenomenon of comprehension. In the 2nd Chapter \"Is Metaphysics meaningful?‚ÄövÑvp there is a critical analysis of the way in which O'Connor deals with Castle and Maritain and of the way he misinterprets the three \"basic\" questions. It is suggested that there is need to distinguish between the contemplation of one single object and the contemplation of the world taken as a whole. The concept of falsification is discussed in relation to faith. It is further pointed out that we cannot explain the origin of an ordered cosmos as a whole in terms of a prior orderliness for that would be part of the cosmos we are trying to explain. It is argued that O'Connor's case against metaphysics is itself metaphysical. In the 3rd Chapter \"Ethical Judgements\" it is recognised that educational judgements have an ethical content. The positivist argues that value judgements are relative and emotive. This chapter examines the possibility of moral judgements being true or false and the existence of criteria for such judgements. The Conclusion makes a brief analysis of the current climate in education and argues that there is a place for a Christian Philosophy of Education. I am grateful to the Archbishop of Melbourne who provoked me into beginning this small study of the relationship between faith and knowledge to Professor Selby Smith who encouraged me and above all to John Radvansky who reintroduced me to the joys of being a student and without whose inspiration I would not have embarked on a journey of which this essay is a modest beginning."


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Copyright 1970? the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Spine title. Thesis (MEd)--Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, [197-?]. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [1]-7)

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