Die implikasies van 'n Christelike kenteorie vir die opvoedkunde / Philippus Cornelius van der Westhuizen
Van der Westhuizen, Philippus Cornelius
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This study was undertaken by way of both primary and secondary sources. It was pointed out that the study was essential as the theory of knowledge, together with Anthropology and cosmology, constitutes the building blocks of education. The remark made at the outset regarding the fact that God equipped Adam at his Creation with an analytical function should be regarded as significant. The idea was that Adam should apply this analytical function in distinguishing and naming the creatures of God. This implies furthermore that created reality is distinctive and can he named. This study did yield its crop of problems. The theory of knowledge implies that a theoretician of knowledge applies his knowledge to a certain field to shape sane firm knowledge out of this. This led to the emergence of the following problem for the educationist as regards knowledge, viz.: - what is the field of inquiry for the educationist? - In what way does the educationist gather his material? - What constitutes the most important component of the education act? In order to do the above, the study was divided into two parts viz. an analysis of various christian theories of knowledge and an evaluation of these theories. Subsequent to this an attempt was made to determine the implications of these for the practice of education. Already at the outset the importance of the human heart and the importance it would have in the study was mentioned. What is of importance here is that the point was made that the heart encompasses man's vision of reality, so that the activity of knowing will also be an activity of the heart. Subsequent to this, in Chapter 2, an investigation of the various christian theories of knowledge was undertaken. In the first place H.G. Stoker's theory of knowledge was studied and the conclusion was that this theory reveals similarities with the Empiricism or Impression theory of Aristotle. This implies that the student is gnostically passive in the action of learning and that which he desires to know reveals itself to him. In Stoker's theory of knowledge he who knows and that which can be known are relinguished. This theory is linked by Stoker to the theory of Revelation of Bavinck and the phenomenology of Scheler. Subsequently the theory of knowledge as it emerges from phenomenology was studied. This was a study of phenomenology especially as it appears in the R.S.A. It would appear that phenomenology constitutes a particular reply to a specific philosophical question regarding reality but has its own method of penetrating to the essence of reality and a method to describe the formation of knowledge. For phenomenology esserce constitutes law and perception of reality implies perception of the law. In conclusion the opinion was stated that phenomenology leans strongly on cosmology (cosmic law) as it emerges from the work of Thomas of Aquino. The question also came to be asked as to whether in the search for essence ani the description of essence, it was not merely a supposition as to whether that was the real concern. Furthermore, it emerged that viewing on the side of the student does not result in knowledge. Knowledge results from that which can be perceived, and as far as the author is concerned knowledge is a possession which cannot be claimed but which originates in analytical activity. Dooyeweerd's theory of knowledge was also investigated (in Chapter 3). In his work there is a strong figuring of the principle of universal reference ani universal expression which are strongly reminiscent of the Monarchianism of Aristotle. This idea is adapted in the early work of Thomas of Aquino and can now be found in a christianized form in Dooyeweerd's work. In the analysis of his work it was indicated that it consists of exposition and opposition and eventually synthesis. Dooyeweerd finds a transcendental condition for the synthesis which in the temporal sphere fulfils the same function as the heart fulfils in the temporally transcendent sphere, viz. intuition. Furthermore it was indicated that, as intuition is an extension of the heart, so the actstructure, as Dooyeweerd uses it, is a duplication of the heart. Thus follows that heart (intuition) and actstructure be identical constituting "immediate temporal expression". Thus also the heart is extended in the temporal place to intuition and an actstructure. In the Philosophy of the cosmonomic Idea the theory of knowledge propounded by Vollenhoven was studied. He makes important points regarding the theory of knowledge. He propounds that the student aims his knowing action directly at that which can be known. This means that there can be no link between the student and the material as the activity of knowing intrudes between them. This means that a new element is introduced at this stage, so that in a theory of knowledge the student is always actively involved in aiming his analytical function at his material and analysing it. This implies that the act of knowing issues from the heart of man and that the student cannot be expelled from the act of knowing. The act of knowing, furthermore, is no creative act for him. Results gained follow from the analysis of material. The last christian theory of knowledge to be studied was that of H. van Riessen. He approaches science from the point of view of his training as an engineer. He discusses his view with reference to a walk through a wood. It was significant that Van Riessen stresses the law (trust, order, fixed and general, etc.). In Van Riessen's view the role of experience is important and in this sense man is receptive, thus gnostically passive. In this one finds traces of Stoker and the impression-theory. In Van Riessen's view the senses yields the new and the brain yields that which is generally valid, the law. As far as Van Riessen is concerned all science originates in wonder as it stimulates curiosity and leads to questions. Questions are converted to problems which lead to an investigation based on argumentation and thus results are achieved. The result is independent as far as the scientist is concerned. This had given rise to the conclusion that bath the concrete and the scientific are relinguished in the method. Seen in the light of the fact that “man" is expelled in his practice of science and that reality is not regarded, the theory of knowledge propounded by Van Riessen, forms a foundation far a neutral practice of science unacceptable to the author. The survey of the various theories of knowledge was intended to lend credence to that which was being studied in chapter 4. The role played by the heart of the educationist in the theory of knowledge or in the acquisition of knowledge in a certain field was looked at. Man’s Vision of reality is located in his heart. This includes his knowledge of faith and his pre-scientific knowledge and is shaped and added to from birth to death. This means that the heart is of fundamental significance and will be stressed as such in this study. The heart is man with all his functions. With this in mind the author has attempted to construct a personal theory of knowledge in which the gaps indicated in the discussion of the various theories can he bridged. As far as the one who knows is concerned, it bas been affirmed that he is equipped with an intellect with which he can distinguish the distinctive elements in creation. This means that the knowable will not reveal itself to man. Man’s intellect is part of his total equipment, thus also of his heart’s equipment. In this respect it should also he stated that sovereignty he limited to God while man is limited to authority. What is knowable functions according to God-given laws? Little of this is stated explicitly in the Bible. Man, subject to the laws of God, gains knowledge of this through his intellect. The activity of knowing, as was further indicated, resides in the heart. The acquisition of knowledge implies a direct link between the one who learns and the knowable. viz. the knowing activity. In this way his analytical function is directed at the knowable and thus knowledge is a duality comprising the student and the knowable. Furthermore, the act of acquiring knowledge is a strenuous one. Knowledge implies both pre-scientific and scientific knowledge. Knowledge as a product of the students activity directed at the knowable is therefore also religiously determined. The prescientific knowledge possessed by an individual constitutes part of his heart’s equipment and is essential in the acquisition of his scientific knowledge. The theory of knowledge as formulated has implications for education. Thus it can be said that pedagogy has its own field of study, and activities of knowing are directed at the reality of education and to gain knowledge by educational (pedagogical) methods. It has also been indicated that there are a number of pre-scientific christian religious perspectives which are applicable in acquiring knowledge in a particular field of study. The educationist's act of knowing his field is an activity of the heart. Another pre-scientific perspective to be kept in mind is that the educationist knows pre-scientifically and that the educationist fulfils a vocation in equipping anyone with knowledge. Subsequently the field of study of the educationist was determined and this hinges on what constitutes the educational reality. In this it can be seen that the educationist knows intuitively what constitutes education, but he also knows that there is no single pure educational situation. Pre-scientific knowledge has to develop into scientific knowledge, and the educational reality can then be abstracted from the total reality. The educationist who has to determined his field of study, viz. the educational reality, has to do so by referring to empirical reality. Various examples were used in this respect. Examples yielded the information that education occurs in various social relations, viz. home, school, church, the military etc.. This means that the educational reality encompasses those social relationships which have education in common, and education should not he seen as limited to the school. It was further determined that education is the mutual factor, the common denominator, in the activities of the various social relations. The various components comprising the educational reality will have education as their common denominator. With reference to the educational reality abstracted from empirical data, it was determined that the educational reality consists of the following components, each of which has something in common. The components identified were the following: * The pedagogue, * The student, * The educational aim, * The educational act. This has given rise to the question of what made a teacher, a catechist, an instructor into pedagogues, while turning a child a catechumen, a servicemen, into students. Further - what is it that identifies the various aims as educational ones, and the acts as educational acts? The answer lies in that which they have in common, that which can he identified as acts aimed at the equipment towards the realization of man's vocation. The common denominator in educational reality is thus this building towards vocational fulfilment. This has led to the conclusion that pedagogy (education) does not exist as such but that it appears as a common denominator in all educational situations and can be typified as equipment of the student to attain a specific vocation. The foregoing does not mean that scientific knowledge has already been acquired and shaped. For the purposes of the thesis it appeared too comprehensive an undertaking to attempt to form an idea of all the components of the educational reality. It was essential to narrow down the considerations, which led to the question of what constituted the most significant component of the educational reality which can lead to knowledge. The educational reality itself yielded the information that education (pedagogy) is fundamentally important as it constitutes the common denominator. This was supported by the volume of literature studied on the topic of the task of the educationist (pedagogue) who is involved with the phenomenon called education. Seen in this light, the educational act of knowing is now directed at education as a field of study with a view to analysis and the acquisition of scientific knowledge regarding it. In chapter 5 a survey was undertaken of the view of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea of the field of study of education. This method involves abstraction and analysis. It is argued that education comprehends all aspects of reality and there will thus be cosmonomic pre-assumptions. Education is also an act involving people (a social act) and will thus also have anthropological pre-assumptions. As far as cosmononic pre-assumptions are concerned, attention was directed to modal, individual, temporal and religious structures. Regarding the anthropological pre-assumptions, attention was given to body structure, temporal, individual and religious structures. In looking at body structure, the categories of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea viz. the physico-chemical, the vegetative biotic, the psychological and the actstructure were used. Special attention was given to the actstructure as it assures a prominent place in education in this view. Attention was also paid to the process of disclosure and special attention was also paid to the religious nodality which plays a key part in the entire act of disclosure as well as in the retroceptive disclosure of the religious modality. Subsequently the anticipatory disclosure of the anthropological structure was studied and it was revealed what could be achieved through education in the disclosure of each structure. The structure of education as such was also studied. For this purpose A.H. de Graaff's description was used and his description has given a good idea of how education can be typified from the viewpoint of the Philosophy of the cosmonomic Idea. Two problems demanding attention resulted from the survey of the structure of education, viz. the view that the historical nodality is the fundamental characteristic of education. This particular view has given rise to such critisism which has been reflected. Subsequently another view was considered, one which contends that the disclosure of the entire actstructure, and so the whole of temporal man, constitutes the fundamental characteristic of education. A number of definitions of education were also conveyed. These represent specifically these educationists working on the premise of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea. The chapter was concluded with an evaluation touching on the following: * The school of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea is already an apposing movement as against Phenomenology. * Disclosure of the actstructure and with it the whole of man relates only to temporal man and so much stress is laid on disclosure of the actstructure that man as a whole is lost in the process. * It has also been indicated that there is a great deal of confusion regarding the disclosure of the religious nodality and that Popma and Spier rejects Dooyeweerd's view that the religious modality is a function of man. * In conclusion Dooyeweerd's important discovery of the heart of man as the root of religion was considered. Chapter 6 is titled: In the course of the development to a tentative scriptural theory of education. In the first place pre-assumptions were given regarding antology I anthropology and society. These are based on the philosophical views of J.A.L. Taljaard. Here it was indicated that God's law does not create a chasm between God and creation, but that creation comprehends (compasses) the law. In order to get to know this law, man is equipped with many abilities. It was also stated that the law of God resides in the concretizing of his will. Seen in this light the existence of several laws was stated (propounded). It’s also been indicated that anthropology, ontology and society all reveal the same fundamental traits because they are in relation to each other. These traits ware then discussed. After consideration of the pre-assumptions an effort was made to analyse education as an abstracted field of study. It was stated that education is in relation to the various social relations and that it occurs as the common element in all human activities, the commo element also in asocial relationship where there are carriers of authority to regulate life within the relevant relationship. The point was made here that education is the equipping of an individual towards the fulfilment of his vocation. Man’s vocation is the task laid upon him at creation (seen in the broad sense). Use was made of vocation in a specialized sense in talking of profession. The term profession was avoided as it has gained a secularized meaning in sane contexts. Great stress was laid on the fact that education implies equipment of the individual towards fulfilment of his vocation. This equipping act once more constitutes the mutual element. The need to identify as many specialized vocations as possible as well as the need for vocation in general was indicated here. A further plea was entered that the contemporary system at tertiary level of faculties should he disposed of, with curricula and syllabi preferably arranged around the various specialized vocations. This has implications, viz, that the individual flow receives training for a specific vocation and is not merely trained as a scientist / scholar ("wetenskaplike"). It has had the further implication that the traditional function of the university he revaluated - and from the pure practice of science he adapted to the scientificencyclopedic equipment towards fulfilment of vocation. The matter of equipment was also considered. What equipment should he valid for vocational realization? This equipment has been identified as being "encompassing education", or, as also called, encyclopedic education. A person who has been encyclopedically equipped has been totally equipped, and one can thus refer to enclosing education in the sense of total equipment to realise a vocation and specialized vocation. This means that the equipment has to enclose education. Encyclopedic equipment further has to be divided into specific equipment, which is that part of equipment leading to vocational fulfilment, and a generalized equipment, pertaining to the heart. This is a prerequisite, as the vision of reality constituting the principle of hermeneutics, has to pervade all actions of man as life has its origin, its sources, in the heart. This idea is not totally new, as emerges from practice. There are already, in practice, structurings allowing for education encompassing specialized vocation. In this respect one is reminded of the training of pharmacists, law students, the training of social workers and integrated courses for teacher training at some universities. At secondary school level there are also already same such structures, as commercial schools. It has also been indicated that education towards vocational and specialized vocational fulfilment hinges on religious convictions. This means that Statute 39 of 1967 is not relevant in this context any more and that the "bloodless" dogma clause also has to be taken out before real equipment towards vocational fulfilment can be given. It was stated that this equipment towards vocational fulfilment is the qualifying element common to all activity. This is what makes an educationist of a teacher, what makes the child a recipient and gives a valid aim to the act of education. In conclusion it was indicated that this thesis has allowed many new problems to crystallize and so to stimulate new inquiry.
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