Philosophy of STEM Education: A Critical Investigation by Nataly Z. Chesky, Mark R. Wolfmeyer

By Nataly Z. Chesky, Mark R. Wolfmeyer

Winner of the yank academic experiences organization (AESA) Critics' selection booklet Award for 2016

Philosophy of STEM schooling makes use of philosophical ways to examine STEM education's objective and assumptions. It info the why (axiology), the how (epistemology) and the what (ontology) of STEM by means of drawing upon various philosophies of schooling, technology, arithmetic, and know-how.

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Further, each camp seems to argue for their own view by critiquing the others or ignoring them altogether. Fallibilists ignore the paradigmatic paper given by Eugene Wigner, a mathematician, titled “the unreasonable usefulness of mathematics” (Burbaker, 2008). By ignoring the empirical uses that mathematical abstraction continues to play in science, fallibilistic accounts of mathematics loses tremendous credibility. On the other hand, by ignoring Kuhn’s theories on paradigm shifts, such as the fallibility of Euclidean geometry, which is now unanimously agreed by professional mathematicians and scientists, absolutism accounts of mathematics appear stubbornly rigid and illogical.

Indeed such limitations are seen in NSTA’s position statement on inquiry science. The science education research community maintains a commitment to rational thinking and the elitism of scientific knowledge. For example, in stating “That the scientific community, in the end, seeks explanations that are empirically based and logically consistent” (NSTA, 2004) they reiterate the rhetoric so often used to justify science’s value to exceed that of other ways of knowing. 0007 32 Philosophy of STEM Education on constructivist learning theory.

In looking at some of the major philosophers of science, we will see that philosophy of science follows a similar trajectory to mathematics, where certainty and objective truth are asserted in modern thinking and problematized later on. Again, by looking at the ontology of science we aim to uncover the way that scientific knowledge helps us to come to know about and live in the world. A common starting point in the philosophy of science comes with a look at Descartes’ Discourse on Method first published in 1637.

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