Saturday, September 5, 2009

Noddings 1-4: from confused to less confused

First, I confess that chapter 4 annoyed me mainly due to my insufficient background knowledge in philosophy. Different philosophies share commons while fight against each other at some points, and they each proposed unprecedented ideas. Having an engineering brain, I find difficulties in accepting knowledge that is not logically organized.

However, I eventually figure out that it is me who fails to identify the implicit relations among diverse philosophies. Thanks to the big table in class, I am now more aware of the critical dispute and the mainstream of each philosophy. I am extremely amused by the 'buying and selling' analogy by Dewey. In my opinion, the comparison of merchant and teacher implies more responsibilities on teacher in that merchant has a direct and immediate feedback when a customer buys the product whereas teacher may not. Linking with the competition between Soviet and the U.S. in that era, it's not a surprise to see how many challenges came out towards this notion. I neither agree nor disagree Dewey's statement unless I know the precise role of teacher. It's not fair to scold a teacher if he/she is not responsible for assessment and hence not able to have feedback to improve his/her teaching.

I support the abandonment of the enlightenment quest for absolute truth in Postmodernism. Newton's Laws have a profound impact over the past few centuries. No one was going to oppose me 100 years ago if I announced that Newton's Laws were indubitable truths. But what about now when we have Relativity Theory? If we believe in a fixed one-truth concept in the world, we lose our sense of aim of education is growth/more education by Dewey as well. The existence of multiple truth may lead to discrepancy in our common basis. How to value the trade-off between growth/diversity of knowledge and the barriers posed by the discrepant local truths geologically and temporally?

BTW, I am reading an article in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that overlaps with some points in Noddings' book. In case someone else may also be interested, I post the link below. I found it easier to follow - at least for me :P