Fenomenologiese reduksie en essensiepedagogiek. / Jordaan, Hendrik Sebastiaan
Jordaan, Hendrik Sebastiaan
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The present situation in South Africa is that the study of the science of pedagogy is mainly based on the phenomenological approach. In this method of reduction the scientist is enabled to get to the essences of the phenomenon of "education". This method has gradually become a system or a philosophy of education based on phenomenology. The system, iniated by Husserl, was adopted by the dutch philosophers Langeveld and Perquin and embrace9 in their philosophy of education. Their writings on this subject became very popular and were taken over by the South African educationists Oberholzer, Gunter, Landman, Van Zyl and others. These people established a philosophy of education for South Africa almost similar to the dutch system, but they went further and declared that the phenomenological method is the one and only method for the study of the science of education, this is the sole method, they maintain, by which a scientific study could be made and by which an unbiased, neutral conception of this science could ever be obtained. Thus they have absolutized phenomenology as a method and a philosophy and have excluded all other approaches as being unscientific, biased and even tarnished with some unscientific pre-conception. These phenomenologists maintain that it is essential to advance from the phenomenon of education and to investigate this phenomen without any prejudice or preconceived principles as these prejudices or principles or conceptions or beliefs are injurious to the pure science which education should be. Such a preconceived principle or attitude could be a christian outlook on life and such like conceptions. These principles would have been in order had they remained pre-scientific or post-scientific but they should not be taken in account when the pure phenomen "education" as such is studied. All these pre-conceived ideas, religions, conceptions have to be bracketed before any such scientific study could be undertaken. It is further maintained these e that the result arrived at under these conditions is "a universally acceptable and scientific result" on which e of any creed or denomination could be unanimous as it is then a neutral conclusion. This neutral approach implies that the is taken and reduced to its essences or irreducible components which are then the originally given or "fait primitif” which has the intrinsic ability to declare itself to the investigator or "education scientist". The investigator must only listen to this essence which then is active while the "scientist" is the passive medium through which these essences disclose themselves. As pointed out before the personal beliefs, disbeliefs, convictions, etc. must under no account be brought into play while this "scientific scrutiny and the resultant disclosure by the essences" take place. The interpreter and his action of reduction are left out of account and it is only the "knowable" as such that declares itself to the investigator. The phenomenological philosophy hence ascribes the potential and ability of denoting or explaining, itself to the essence or "eidos". The, method and philosophy known as Phenomenology has become a conception accepted by the majority of writers on educational science and also by teachers and students of education. It is, of course, a natural outcome when one considers that most books on the philosophy of education are written from the phenomenological approach authors of this conviction. To our mind this conception has caused a problem as it has not remained with education and educators but has spread the nation and has become a philosophy of life with its branches of naturalism, humanism and essentialism others. Ultimately a need and a desire for a changed view have become imperative. A religiously minded people cannot accept the alienation of its religion from its education and hence this study was undertaken in an effort to put the two facts into perspective. To our mind a conception that an "essence" has the ability to convey to the investigator its knowability, while the investigator remains passive and God the Creator is left altogether out of reckoning, is impossible to accept. If a thing or fact is knowable and can. be known it is such because God has created it as such. It has a part in the analitical modality and the fact that man possesses the ability to analyse the analysable and express the result in words and thus communicate it to fellow men process of knowing has a two-poled "dialogue" because it is the knower and the knower -each in its complete reality, but is not a "dial in the sense in which the phenomenologists desire the term to be interpreted -coming from the "knowable" or "essence" only. It is a process of knowing, an activity, which ensues from the knower. It is a "two-oneness" because the scope and contents of the result of knowing, is determined by the knowable. In its full reality, however, the God of Scripture and the Word of God can not for one moment be excluded from its reality and no neutrality as such is ever possible. Any scientist or investigator is a human being and hence a religions being who stands in relation to God, whether he knows it or not, whether he accepts it or not, does not matter. And the scientific activity is an activity ensueing from the heart and qualified by the heart be it in obedience to the law of God or not. Hence all activities of man is religiously deter= minded and that includes education and educating. Man was created by God, as child of God with the task to Govern and rule over all of creation which was given to him by God to rule over as even over himself, over his fellow human being in which is included the child in its rearing and educating to answer to its calling in complete responsibility solely to the glory of God, its Creator. The problem posed thus is - what is the place of Word revelation in practising any science, even the science of education or pedagogics? What are the implications of this and do the truths of Scripture come to realization in science without having to be verified or proven? What actually are these truths? Which of these truths are required for the science of education and what part will they play? The phenomenologists reject these truths or parenthesize them until they deem it necessary to bring them into play. In their so-called scientific or neutral approach they repudiate World revelation in which God discloses Himself and His relation to all things. The Lord God had put a radical yet correlated variety in the cosmos. This irreducible variety and interdependent relation must be accepted and investigated without reletavizations and particulirizations and yet with acknowledgement of God as sovereign Ruler over and Creator of man and cosmos which are subjected to His cosmic law and order. This approach to science will nullify all cosmologic absolutization of naturalism, pragmatism, positivism, scientism, secularism, existentialism as well as "phenomenism" which is an absolutization of the phenomenon. Man was created by God with a given task and responsibility to do his share in fulfilment of God's will. Practising science is part and parcel of this task accomplishment for which the light of the lord of God is indespensible but practising science is also religious service of God which has to be practised in the light of Scripture. The true scientist, therefore, tests the foundation of his science by the Word of God and absolutization of something from the cosmos, be it something of man like his reason, or be it something of the world like the phenomenon, must be opposed because it is not in accordance with the light of Scripture. Thus the scientist shall investigate the whole of reality in its complete coherence and not only a phenomenon which has been reduced to its "essences" from this reality. In his research the educationist as a scientist, shall continually realize that he can know only partially but in the light of Scripture he should declare the sovereignity of God over all cosmos and over each and every activity of man and this includes education as such. This, then is the crux of the matter therefore a Christian cannot accept the neutral approach of the phenomenologists to found a philosophy of education on anything else but Scripture. The field of is to include the founding and practise of present phi of education in South Africa as practised and accepted at most instutions for teacher training. This philosophy is based on the phenomenol approach and the Christian world and life view is bracketed and ignored until a point is reached. This actually leads to a dualistic approach which is not acceptable in view of the above mentioned standpoint. Education is religiously determined and a pedagogy of essences declares its approach to be phenomenologically based The origin and devel of this branch of thought is indicated and reference is made to the greatest exponents of this school of thought in Brentano as the originator of the conception of phenomenology is given attention to. Some of the works of Husserl, the initiator of this school are studied as well as works of Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, who are famous exponents of the phenomenology. The works of these philosophers had inspired the dutch philosophers Langeveld and Perquin to design their system of phenomenologically based philosophy of education. The dutch version of this philosophy was brought to South Africa by C.K. Oberholzer and he and his followers are mainly responsible for the present day widely accepted fundamental pedagogy or philosophy of education, which can be denoted as the "pedagogy of essences". A look is taken at this pedagogy of essences and it is duly evaluated. Because this pedagogy of essences is not acceptable to some of us in the light of Christian and religious conviction as indicated earlier, a tentative idea for an alternative philosophy of education is indicated. The so called unbiased and neutral approach to education is, to our mind, not only impossible but actually an apostasy of the Christian religion. This is virtually proved by these phenomenologists themselves by the fact that sooner or later they do return to a world and life view which they initially had professed to have bracketed so as to enable them to reach a scientific, unbiased or neutral foundation for the philosophy of education. It was deemed necessary to refer to religion, science and calling (vocation) as these are integral aspects of man's life. It was also necessary to refer briefly to the ontic law, as well as to the implications of the belief in God as the foundation for a science of education with its corresponding aim and contents. Therefore reference is made to a cosmological, a anthropological, a cognizable and a methodological basis for this philosophy of education determined Word revelation. The method mainly used in this study is philosophic-historic-critical. Philosophy is that science which studies the radical variety in its integral composity, so as to establish a total conception of temporal reality. It therefore explains matters about the universe and man in the universe, thus also matters about man and his education. A philosophy of education must develop against a specific philosophical background and cannot be isolated from it. To the Christian it is clear that the task of a well-defined, well-formulated and scientifically substantiated and responsible philosophical pedagogy, is to indicate the final destination of man and practise this education with a similar purpose. It should then be clear that in this study a systematic method was used which has a specific view on the relation between God, ontic law and cosmos. The sources used in this study were works of Husserl (English translations mainly) Langeveld, Perquin, and the South African authors Oberholzer, Gunter and B.F. Nel, Landman and others. Works of Stoker, Spier, Loen, Taljaard, Strauss and Venter, were valuable sources. The conclusion arrived at in this study is that a philosophy of education should be based on a christian philosophy and should include the totality of education and not only a phenomenon. Such a philosophy of education should, in its entirety depend on Word revelation.
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