The Relationship Between Indeterminacy, Overdeterminacy and Undeterminacy

4 Jun 2013 Christopher Gifford, University of Bristol Details Indeterminacy has been something of a hot topic in the last quarter of the 20th century in philosophy, having been emphasised by Quine and tackled by various theories of vagueness that attempt to resolve the sorites paradox. Two currently contenting theories of vagueness propose ways of understanding indeterminacy; as a linguistic phenomena and as a phenomena belonging to reality itself. However, both theories have some serious problems. These make way for a new understanding of indeterminacy which also sheds light on how indeterminacy relates to the notions of under-determinacy and overdeterminacy - concepts which have been central in the areas of meta-physics and the philosophy of science.

I believe that all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual’s powers, saturating his consciousness, forcing his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions. Through this unconscious education the individual gradually comes to share in the intellectual and moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together. He becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization. The most formal and technical education in the world cannot safely depart from this general process. It can only organize it or differentiate it in some particular direction. [[1]: 19-20.] Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 2 / 19 Dewey’s Unique Individuals ... Every individual is a little different from every other individual, not alone is his [or her] general capacity and character; the differences extend to rather minute abilities and characteristics, and no amount of discipline will eradicate them. The obvious conclusion of this is that uniform methods cannot possibly produce uniform results in education, that the more we wish to come to making every one alike the more varied and individualised must the methods be. [2] pp? Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 3 / 19 Dewey’s Individual Interest Individual effort is impossible without individual interest. There can be no such such thing as a subject which in and by itself will furnish training for every mind. If work is not in itself interesting to the individual he [or she] cannot put his best efforts into it. However hard he [or she] may work at it, the effort does not go into the accomplishment of the work but is largely dissipated in a moral and emotional struggle to keep the attention where it is not held... [2] pp? Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 4 / 19 Aims of the Talk To scrutinise the three quotes. To relate the main points Dewey makes in the quotes about individuals to an argument given by Suissa against a predetermined syllabi for philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds. To argue contra Suissa for teaching philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds as sub-divided. To compare some of the scientific findings on adolescence development and compare it to Dewey’s notion of individuals. NB. Subscribing to the analytic Philosophy of Education tradition. Offering analytic methods and argument. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 5 / 19 Aims of the Talk To scrutinise the three quotes. To relate the main points Dewey makes in the quotes about individuals to an argument given by Suissa against a predetermined syllabi for philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds. To argue contra Suissa for teaching philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds as sub-divided. To compare some of the scientific findings on adolescence development and compare it to Dewey’s notion of individuals. NB. Subscribing to the analytic Philosophy of Education tradition. Offering analytic methods and argument. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 5 / 19 Aims of the Talk To scrutinise the three quotes. To relate the main points Dewey makes in the quotes about individuals to an argument given by Suissa against a predetermined syllabi for philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds. To argue contra Suissa for teaching philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds as sub-divided. To compare some of the scientific findings on adolescence development and compare it to Dewey’s notion of individuals. NB. Subscribing to the analytic Philosophy of Education tradition. Offering analytic methods and argument. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 5 / 19 Aims of the Talk To scrutinise the three quotes. To relate the main points Dewey makes in the quotes about individuals to an argument given by Suissa against a predetermined syllabi for philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds. To argue contra Suissa for teaching philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds as sub-divided. To compare some of the scientific findings on adolescence development and compare it to Dewey’s notion of individuals. NB. Subscribing to the analytic Philosophy of Education tradition. Offering analytic methods and argument. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 5 / 19 Aims of the Talk To scrutinise the three quotes. To relate the main points Dewey makes in the quotes about individuals to an argument given by Suissa against a predetermined syllabi for philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds. To argue contra Suissa for teaching philosophy in schools for 14-18 year olds as sub-divided. To compare some of the scientific findings on adolescence development and compare it to Dewey’s notion of individuals. NB. Subscribing to the analytic Philosophy of Education tradition. Offering analytic methods and argument. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 5 / 19 Dewey’s Concept of Individuality From the first quote - the individual qua situated in the social consciousness From the second quote - relationship between teaching methods, results, and the individual. Plea for varied teaching methods. From the third quote - individual effort from individual interest. Without interest, effort is dissipated to where the attention is not held. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 6 / 19 Dewey’s Concept of Individuality From the first quote - the individual qua situated in the social consciousness From the second quote - relationship between teaching methods, results, and the individual. Plea for varied teaching methods. From the third quote - individual effort from individual interest. Without interest, effort is dissipated to where the attention is not held. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 6 / 19 Dewey’s Concept of Individuality From the first quote - the individual qua situated in the social consciousness From the second quote - relationship between teaching methods, results, and the individual. Plea for varied teaching methods. From the third quote - individual effort from individual interest. Without interest, effort is dissipated to where the attention is not held. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 6 / 19 Dewey’s Concept of Individuality From the first quote - the individual qua situated in the social consciousness From the second quote - relationship between teaching methods, results, and the individual. Plea for varied teaching methods. From the third quote - individual effort from individual interest. Without interest, effort is dissipated to where the attention is not held. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 6 / 19 Dewey’s Concept of Individuality From the first quote - the individual qua situated in the social consciousness From the second quote - relationship between teaching methods, results, and the individual. Plea for varied teaching methods. From the third quote - individual effort from individual interest. Without interest, effort is dissipated to where the attention is not held. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 6 / 19 Further Dewey Quotes about the Individual ‘One is mentally an individual only as he has his own purpose and problem, and does his own thinking’ ([3]: 353.) ‘...there are variations of point of view, of appeal of objects, and of mode of attack, from person to person...’ ([3]: 354.) Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 7 / 19 Further Dewey Quotes about the Individual ‘One is mentally an individual only as he has his own purpose and problem, and does his own thinking’ ([3]: 353.) ‘...there are variations of point of view, of appeal of objects, and of mode of attack, from person to person...’ ([3]: 354.) Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 7 / 19 Further Dewey Quotes about the Individual ‘One is mentally an individual only as he has his own purpose and problem, and does his own thinking’ ([3]: 353.) ‘...there are variations of point of view, of appeal of objects, and of mode of attack, from person to person...’ ([3]: 354.) Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 7 / 19 Defining Dewey’s Individuality Defining individual as having (at least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have. Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: Situated in the context of social consciousness Immune to uniform results from uniform methods Only use effort if they are interested How individuals see themselves. Jane Kroger in Blackwell handbook of Adolecence. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 8 / 19 Defining Dewey’s Individuality Defining individual as having (at least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have. Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: Situated in the context of social consciousness Immune to uniform results from uniform methods Only use effort if they are interested How individuals see themselves. Jane Kroger in Blackwell handbook of Adolecence. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 8 / 19 Defining Dewey’s Individuality Defining individual as having (at least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have. Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: Situated in the context of social consciousness Immune to uniform results from uniform methods Only use effort if they are interested How individuals see themselves. Jane Kroger in Blackwell handbook of Adolecence. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 8 / 19 Teaching Challenges from Dewey’s Conception - If ‘uniform methods cannot possibly produce uniform results in education’ and we want uniform results in education, how can we produce them? Questions: what is a uniform method? More specifically, what is a uniform method in teaching philosophy? uniform could mean - the same or conforming to one rule Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 9 / 19 Reconstructing Suissa’s Argument Suissa wants to suggest that meaning is a salient aspect of the experience of secondary-school-age children. Premise 1. A philosophy class could help children articulate questions about other subjects - e.g. in biology, whether evolutionary theory signifies a rejection of a teleological account of life. Premise 2. An important aspect of this conception of philosophy is the role of imagination (e.g. in questions about other subjects). Premise 3. Facts are only data that need to be made into complete ideas by the imagination (Dewey) Conclusion: ‘philosophy cannot be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own ‘bits of data’ (kindle location 2222). Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 10 / 19 Reconstructing Suissa’s Argument Suissa wants to suggest that meaning is a salient aspect of the experience of secondary-school-age children. Premise 1. A philosophy class could help children articulate questions about other subjects - e.g. in biology, whether evolutionary theory signifies a rejection of a teleological account of life. Premise 2. An important aspect of this conception of philosophy is the role of imagination (e.g. in questions about other subjects). Premise 3. Facts are only data that need to be made into complete ideas by the imagination (Dewey) Conclusion: ‘philosophy cannot be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own ‘bits of data’ (kindle location 2222). Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 10 / 19 Reconstructing Suissa’s Argument Suissa wants to suggest that meaning is a salient aspect of the experience of secondary-school-age children. Premise 1. A philosophy class could help children articulate questions about other subjects - e.g. in biology, whether evolutionary theory signifies a rejection of a teleological account of life. Premise 2. An important aspect of this conception of philosophy is the role of imagination (e.g. in questions about other subjects). Premise 3. Facts are only data that need to be made into complete ideas by the imagination (Dewey) Conclusion: ‘philosophy cannot be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own ‘bits of data’ (kindle location 2222). Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 10 / 19 Reconstructing Suissa’s Argument Suissa wants to suggest that meaning is a salient aspect of the experience of secondary-school-age children. Premise 1. A philosophy class could help children articulate questions about other subjects - e.g. in biology, whether evolutionary theory signifies a rejection of a teleological account of life. Premise 2. An important aspect of this conception of philosophy is the role of imagination (e.g. in questions about other subjects). Premise 3. Facts are only data that need to be made into complete ideas by the imagination (Dewey) Conclusion: ‘philosophy cannot be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own ‘bits of data’ (kindle location 2222). Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 10 / 19 Reconstructing Suissa’s Argument Suissa wants to suggest that meaning is a salient aspect of the experience of secondary-school-age children. Premise 1. A philosophy class could help children articulate questions about other subjects - e.g. in biology, whether evolutionary theory signifies a rejection of a teleological account of life. Premise 2. An important aspect of this conception of philosophy is the role of imagination (e.g. in questions about other subjects). Premise 3. Facts are only data that need to be made into complete ideas by the imagination (Dewey) Conclusion: ‘philosophy cannot be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own ‘bits of data’ (kindle location 2222). Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 10 / 19 Suissa’s Argument Suissa claims that ‘it would seem problematic to restrict [children] by means of exams and predetermined syllabi’. Suissa claims that if philosophy is treated as a meta-subject then the philosophy class should be loosely structured around aspects of human life, culture and meaning encountered through the rest of the curriculum. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 11 / 19 Suissa’s Argument Suissa claims that ‘it would seem problematic to restrict [children] by means of exams and predetermined syllabi’. Suissa claims that if philosophy is treated as a meta-subject then the philosophy class should be loosely structured around aspects of human life, culture and meaning encountered through the rest of the curriculum. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 11 / 19 Suissa’s Argument Suissa claims that ‘it would seem problematic to restrict [children] by means of exams and predetermined syllabi’. Suissa claims that if philosophy is treated as a meta-subject then the philosophy class should be loosely structured around aspects of human life, culture and meaning encountered through the rest of the curriculum. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 11 / 19 Against Suissa I Philosophy can be conceived of and structured like another curricular subject with its own bits of data. We already have this at university level - philosophy is sub-dived into different areas (e.g. logic, continental philosophy, metaphilosophy (philosophical methodology), metaphysics, etc...) Teaching philosophy in schools with exams and a syllabi is not problematic if it has its own bits of data. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 12 / 19 Against Suissa II And it does have its own bits of data. The main data for analytic philosophy is arguments. These can be studied, learnt, and criticised. And this is where the role of imagination comes in - in constructing original arguments. The sub-division of philosophy into different areas permits to encorportation of the treatment of philosophy as a meta-subject. For example, there exists the philosophy of science, geography, mathematics, etc... Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 13 / 19 Against Suissa II And it does have its own bits of data. The main data for analytic philosophy is arguments. These can be studied, learnt, and criticised. And this is where the role of imagination comes in - in constructing original arguments. The sub-division of philosophy into different areas permits to encorportation of the treatment of philosophy as a meta-subject. For example, there exists the philosophy of science, geography, mathematics, etc... Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 13 / 19 Against Suissa II And it does have its own bits of data. The main data for analytic philosophy is arguments. These can be studied, learnt, and criticised. And this is where the role of imagination comes in - in constructing original arguments. The sub-division of philosophy into different areas permits to encorportation of the treatment of philosophy as a meta-subject. For example, there exists the philosophy of science, geography, mathematics, etc... Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 13 / 19 Philosophy of Conceived as Sub-Divided Can Encorportate Extras Philosophy taught in schools as being sub-divided into different areas can include the area of including the aspects of human life, culture and meaning which Suissa talks about. We have ethics, value theory, etc.. for aspects of human life. We have the philosophy of social sciences for aspects of culture. And we have the various uses of the concept of meaning in areas such as the philosophy of language and within various areas within continental philosophy. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 14 / 19 Appraisal: False Dichotomy So: Suissa makes a false dichotomy. ‘... arguably, the secondary school curriculum is not the place to provide a systematic, thorough training in philosophy, but to introduce children to philosophical ideas, to convince them of the value of philosophy, and to whet their appetite for further study’(Kindle: 2227) Both can be done! Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 15 / 19 Appraisal: False Dichotomy So: Suissa makes a false dichotomy. ‘... arguably, the secondary school curriculum is not the place to provide a systematic, thorough training in philosophy, but to introduce children to philosophical ideas, to convince them of the value of philosophy, and to whet their appetite for further study’(Kindle: 2227) Both can be done! Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 15 / 19 Appraisal: False Dichotomy So: Suissa makes a false dichotomy. ‘... arguably, the secondary school curriculum is not the place to provide a systematic, thorough training in philosophy, but to introduce children to philosophical ideas, to convince them of the value of philosophy, and to whet their appetite for further study’(Kindle: 2227) Both can be done! Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 15 / 19 Appraisal: False Dichotomy So: Suissa makes a false dichotomy. ‘... arguably, the secondary school curriculum is not the place to provide a systematic, thorough training in philosophy, but to introduce children to philosophical ideas, to convince them of the value of philosophy, and to whet their appetite for further study’(Kindle: 2227) Both can be done! Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 15 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Applying Dewey’s Notion of An Individual Against Suissa Adding this to what we have we get an individual is: (At least) one property distinct from other properties which every other object in the universe does not have; having a unique and original argument Situated in the context of social consciousness comparing and contrasting that unique and original argument with others Immune to uniform results from uniform methods use of the student’s own and individual method(s) to establish unique and original arguments Only use effort if they are interested interest from personal engagement of unique and original argument Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 16 / 19 Last Thought Why does Suissa mean by ‘meaning’? Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 17 / 19 Last Thought Why does Suissa mean by ‘meaning’? Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 17 / 19 Thank you. Thanks for organising the workshop. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 18 / 19 Thank you. Thanks for organising the workshop. Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 18 / 19 References Dewey, J. (1897). ‘My Pedagogic Creed’ in the series My Pedagogic Creed, in The School Journal LIV(5): 77-80, reprinted in Dewey on Education: Selections, with an Introduction and Notes by Martin S. Dworkin , pp. 19-32, The William Byrd Press, Inc: Richmond, Va. Dewey, J. (1934). ‘Individual Psychology and Education’, The Philosopher XII: ??-??. Dewey, J. (1925). Democracy and Education, The MacMillan Company: New York. Suissa, J. (2009). ‘Philosophy in the Secondary School - A Deweyan Perspective’, in Philosophy in Schools (Continuum Studies in Research in Education), ... Kroger, J. (2005) ‘Identity Development During Adolescence’, Blackwell Handbook of Adolescence, ed. Gerald R. Adams & Michael D. Berzonsky. Malden, Mass: Oxford, New Edition Dusek, J. B. & McIntyre, J. G. (2005). ‘Self-Concept and Self-Esteem Development’, in Blackweel handbook of Adolescence, ed. Gerald R. Adams & Michael D. Berzonsky. Malden, Mass: Oxford, New Edition Chris Gifford (Royal Institute of Philosophy) Dewey’s Unique Individual Students December 13th 2014 19 / 19