Toward a Regulative Virtue Epistemology for the Theory and Practice of Education
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This dissertation develops and explores how a particular variety of virtue epistemology (VE) applies to the theory and practice of education. To this end, several key issues are addressed: knowledge and epistemology, knowledge in education, virtue and culture, and the application of a particular variety of VE to education. Furthermore, this dissertation employs a philosophical methodology based in theoretical work from two disciplines—philosophy and education. In Chapter I, I explicate the purpose of this dissertation and provide a rationale for pursuing this project. I also clarify some key terminology, discuss some delimiting factors, and offer chapter previews. In Chapter II, I discuss how Edmond Gettier challenged the standard definition of knowledge as justified true belief. This resulted in the development of virtue-based epistemologies. Having distinguished between several forms of VE, I conclude this chapter by advancing regulative virtue epistemology (RVE). In Chapter III, I provide a conceptual and historical overview of the concept of knowledge in the specific context of educational theory. This discussion provides important context for the application of RVE to educational matters. In Chapter IV, I consider how the concept of virtue is understood in several diverse cultural contexts. Here I ameliorate a potential worry—that virtue is a distinctly Western concept. Finally, in Chapter V, I apply RVE to the theory and practice of education. It is shown that RVE has important implications for the epistemic aims of education—that is, the ultimate knowledge-related purposes of education. Specifically, I find that understanding offers a more holistic account of educational theorizing, and places greater responsibility on teachers and students in their educational activities. I also conclude that RVE widens the aims of education to include other epistemic goods. I then demonstrate that communication—an important feature of education—is also regulated by intellectual virtue. Finally, I present two proposals for teaching from an RVE perspective, and find that each has particular strengths and weaknesses. I conclude with some areas for future research.
Ortwein, Mark Jason (2011). Toward a Regulative Virtue Epistemology for the Theory and Practice of Education. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from