Tag Archives: Truth

Blog of the Week: 13 March 2020 – What does knowledge-rich mean when not all disciplines seek knowledge?

“Man lives in the meanings he is able to discern. He extends himself into that which he finds coherent and is at home there”

– Michael Polanyi, “Meaning”, 1975

What is the purpose of human endeavour? It’s not just knowledge. We seek beauty , expression, joy and delight. Art, music, literature and dance light up the world and lift up the heart, and it isn’t through knowledge, not in any standard or commonly shared meaning of the word.

There is a further issue with the term “knowledge”. The standard definition is “justified true belief” – but this doesn’t fit in pursuits like philosophy, theology and history, where interpretivism reigns.

“Making meaning” is a better term for what we do in our disciplines. We do the things we do to find patterns, rules, laws and principles, but also to make loveliness, humour, stories and sense. Out of the near-infinite data set…

View original post 263 more words

Blog of the Week: 8 February 2019 – Core and hinterland: What’s what and why it matters

A Chemical Orthodoxy

In 1918, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to a war criminal.

In the early years of the 20th century, German scientist Fritz Haber developed a process to artificially synthesise ammonia, a vital component of agricultural fertilisers. A reaction that changed the world, his process drove a ballooning in industrial agriculture and, with the fullness of time, allowed for a population explosion and the pulling of billions of people out of poverty.

But Haber’s oeuvre extended from the globally beneficial to the sinister. A fervent nationalist, in World War I he turned his brilliance to the German war effort and pioneered the use of chemical weaponry on the battlefield, personally supervising the first administration of deadly chlorine gas in the trenches of Flanders.

Despite these contributions to the Fatherland, Haber was forced to leave Germany because he had Jewish ancestry: an ancestry he despised. In a grimly ironic turn…

View original post 1,988 more words

Blog of the Week: 11 January 2019 – Curriculum: Truth and Beauty

A while ago I said that science has a unique claim to truth. I was wrong.

After reading Christine Counsell’s article “Taking Curriculum Seriously” I have come to realise that all human endeavour, and therefore the subjects we teach in our schools, are a search for truth, and that the reason we have so many disciplines and subjects is that truth is complicated.

Imagine a person standing in a tall box, with a hole at arm height.

The person can’t see out of the box, but they can reach out, and, holding a piece of modelling clay, press it into the surface outside. They can then draw it back into the box and examine it. The natural world has made an impression on the clay, and conclusions can be drawn from it. If the clay has lots of thin lines on it we might conclude there is grass out…

View original post 717 more words