Welcome to my blog which is endeavouring to map my journey through a Professional Doctorate in Education. The learning curve is steep and all climbing aids are welcome!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pragmatist ontology

Whilst I'm starting to feel that epistemology, conceptual framework, and other technical terms are starting to make sense, offering to do a small input to Ed D colleagues has put me into a bit of a spin about ontology or more specifically , what pragmatist ontology might be.

Ontology is concerned with ‘what is’- the structure of reality – and  informs the theoretical perspective of the researcher. For example,  that digital technologies are here to stay, are fast moving, that youth workers are informal educators, that digital technologies are being used as educational tools and that the two concepts are compatible. 

Dewey's ontology centres on experience, something that is constantly changing as we interact with the world.

"Because every experience is constituted by interaction between “subject”
and “object,” between a self and its world, it is not itself either merely physical
nor merely mental, no matter how much one factor or the other predominates.
. . . [experiences] are the products of discrimination, and hence can be understood only as we take into account the total normal experience in which both inner and outer factors are so incorporated that each has lost its special character. In an experience, things and events belonging to the world, physical and social, are transformed through the human context they enter, while the live creature is changed and developed through its intercourse with things
previously external to it. "(Dewey, 1981:251)

Dewey’s ontology  is 'transactional' (Clandinin, D & Rosiek, J.  2006:39) because it looks at the interaction between the subject and the environment in order to look at how the dynamics change and  “makes possible a new way of dealing with them, and thus eventually creates a new kind of experienced objects, not more real than those which preceded but more significant, and less overwhelming andoppressive” (Dewey, 1981: 175) . Here it can be said that knowledge, that 'which is' comes from our experiences and that these must be revisited in order to affirm our thoughts. This is where reflection plays its part, revisiting through reflection, processing that learning through experience, leads to knowledge creation. 

Have I got my head around it? Perhaps - feels ok...

 Clandinin, D &  Rosiek, J. 2006. Mapping a Landscape of Narrative Inquiry Borderland Spaces and Tensions. http://www.american-philosophy.org/events/documents/SIAP_2009_Clandinin_Proof-Ch2.pdf  accessed 20.11.2011

Dewey, J. (1981). The later works, 1925–1953: Vol. 10. Art as experience (J. A. Boydston, Ed.).
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

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