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Keynote abstracts

Andrea R. English: Learning and the Loss of Imagination: What Dewey offers in times of educational crisis

The growing international culture of high-stakes testing and performance-based accountability has come to define what we commonly understand as learning. This reductive notion of learning tied to standardized test outcomes stands in stark contrast to the richer notion of learning found in Dewey’s educational pragmatism. Dewey places value on the process of learning and its constitutive negativity— the moment we arrive at a “blind spot” or limit to knowledge and ability and have to struggle to find ways out.  If we continue down the current path of global educational policy, we stand to lose the deeper sense of learning and with it, any space for imagination in education.

Norbert Wiley on pragmatism today

The presentation focusses on how pragmatism differs from post structuralism in the following ways: Pragmatism avoids paradox, i.e. it can self-reference without contradiction, and pragmatism has a self, truth and a real world.  Post-structuralism lacks these features. I will argues that pragmatism’s self is egalitarian and a good fit for democracy, while also being fitting with feminist epistemology

The key note presets how Peirce’s epistemological maxim can explain self-reference without contradiction, while that of positivism cannot.  Some pragmatists think the definition of objects is completely imposed and in no way discovered. I think it is some of both. Dewey’s opposition to dualism seems over-stated, e.g. mind vs. body seems unavoidable. Each dualism needs to be looked at separately. Concerning inner speech --  I will review its properties and show that it is much more important for understanding humans than has been realized.