Analysis of pedagogical theories of a rationalistic and empirical...

Analysis of pedagogical theories of a rationalistic and empirical focus

The age-old confrontation between rationalists and empiricists in philosophy could not pass without a trace for pedagogy. Not surprisingly, therefore, the emergence of the corresponding directions in pedagogy (→ Aristotle Locke → Piaget Davydov (rationalists) and Binet → Dewey → Frenet Zankov (empiricists)).

The list of rationalists begins with Aristotle, who is, in fact, the founder of logic. In the Middle Ages, his logic was considered the basis of all knowledge.

As an inveterate empiricist, Locke usually characterizes, forgetting at the same time that the theory of abstractions first developed by him occupies a prominent place within the framework of rationalism.

Piaget was interested primarily not in sensitive, but in cognitive structures. On this basis, and he can be attributed to the rationalists. Davydov supported the method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete, not particularly seeking to supplement it with the method of ascent from the concrete to the abstract. This kind of direction is evidence in favor of rationalism.

The teacher needs to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of rationalism. In this regard, it makes sense to turn to the classics of rationalism, having in mind the following series of magnificent philosophical names: Descartes Leibniz Kant Hegel → Popper.

A common feature of all rationalists is that they put some principles at the beginning of the theory, the origin of which is not explained properly.

Descartes proceeded from the availability of clear ideas for people allegedly inherent in them (by these ideas he understood primarily the axioms of mathematics). The development of science has shown that axioms are quite capacious and complex concepts that are transformed in the case of identifying problematic aspects of mathematical theories.

The main difference between Leibniz's position and Descartes's views is that he was interested not so much in the axioms of mathematics as in logic, in particular the principle of avoiding contradictions and the principle of sufficient grounds that he postulated. For him, these principles were obvious no less than the axioms of mathematics - for Descartes.

Kant, unlike Descartes and Leibniz, raised the question of philosophical principles as determining the possibility of the very existence of various sciences. The principle of subjective time precedes arithmetic, the principle of subjective space - geometry, the principle of conformity to law - physics, the principle of categorical imperative - ethics, the principle of the ability of judgments, i.e. evaluation - aesthetics. Kant regarded all principles as a priori, i.e. not determined by experimental data (each person knows them, but does not always give them the proper value).

Hegel believed that all sciences are preceded by the dialectical logic developed by him. The entrance to his philosophical system is the science of logic. We counted in it 72 categories (nothing - becoming - something, quality - quantity - measure, essence - phenomenon - reality, etc.). The origin of these categories, he did not explain, referring to the fact that this is how the world works. Marx said that Hegel guessed (!) Dialectical categories.

Popper became the founder of critical rationalism. He considered the beginning of the theory to be hypothetical universal laws, the origin of which he considered impossible to explain scientifically. Popper referred to intuition. He was annoyed by the position of neo-positivists, according to which laws are derived from experimental data.

There are two decisive errors for all rationalists. First, they refuse to analyze the origin of principles and laws. In fact, rationalists deny the progress of the process of cognition. They do not give due attention to abduction as a kind of stage of conceptual transduction. Secondly, rationalists misinterpret the conceptual content of science. They are alien to the full-scale conceptualism, which they represent in a truncated form.

Thus, between rationalism and conceptualism it is impermissible to put an equal sign. In scientific terms only conceptualism is consistent. Consequently, the teacher needs to focus not on rationalism, but on developed conceptualism.

Note also that rationalism was criticized a lot from the standpoint of irrationalism. Such criticism is untenable. On behalf of irrationalism, as a rule, the conceptual nature of scientific knowledge is denied, and this is the path to mysticism.

It is time to turn to empiricists. This time we are talking about researchers, each of which can be called a fighter against educational speculation. They justify only those conclusions that have an empirical justification. This attitude can be accepted, but only if it is supplemented by ideas about such concepts as hypothetical laws and principles. The transition between concepts is not limited to empirical research.

The empirical stage of research was considered most thoroughly by neopositivists (M. Schlick, R. Carnap, H. Reichenbach). But this does not mean that it can not be comprehended in a different way (Wine is a positivist, Dewey is a pragmatist, Frenet is a Marxist with a neo-Thomist bias, Zankov is a dialectical materialist).

The list of metascientific positions given by us shows that any researcher needs to determine his philosophy, otherwise he risks becoming a hostage to long-outdated eclectic views. Naturally, it is desirable to focus on modern meta-scientific directions. And it is expedient to rank them, for each of them is not sufficiently versatile.


1. In pedagogy two directions are opposed: rationalistic and empiricist.

2. Each of them has both strengths and weaknesses. Rationalists skillfully operate on principles and laws. Empiricists legitimately deny speculation, speculation as a scientific method.

3. To overcome the shortcomings of the considered directions, it is necessary to turn to the theory of conceptual transduction.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)