Into the eye of Monon: An historical and analytic philosophical investigation into the connotative concept of research as denoted by "Studies in Education", Volume I, Earl Barnes, Editor (Second Edition, Stanford University, 1903)

Benjamin Welsh, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation investigated the actions and thoughts behind US educational research circa 1900 to construct a description. The primary data source was Studies in Education (1903), a terminal set first published monthly between July, 1896 and April, 1897. Methodology included: focusing on the author's intended meaning through scholarly editing and specific translation, and passage clarification resolving vague and/or ambiguous language using a variety of tools such as those of analytic philosophy and psycholinguistics/semantics, from which observations and inferences were made. Further, historic method was applied enabling influences and implications to be drawn. A synthesis of the findings followed in which two contradictory intellectual paradigms emerged. The first is a Spencerian paradigm, based in recapitulation theory, that included the Hegelian idea of soul; Ernst Haeckel's definitions of ontogeny, phylogeny, Monism and ideas on evolution; William Preyer's concept of mental faculty; and Herbert Spencer's tenets of education. The second is Pestolozzian which was the lesser of the two as an influence on Barnes (1903), based on the naturalistic, student-centered school practices of Pestalozzi. Barnes believed that children's culturally-based answers to composition questions were a measurement of an inherited, collective mental substance that changed in quantity as children grew. The substances measured in the volume included the historic sense, the moral sense, play, drawing, writing, and memory. The findings became the basis for curriculum. Barnes viewed his scientifically-based curriculum as the culmination of the Pestalozzian paradigm. Science he perceived to be the natural culmination of evolution, and 'soul-substances' to be inherited and organic. Two implications emerged: that the Spencerian paradigm laid the foundation for test-based, student-sorting in today's public schools (1997) and quantitative research and information industries; that the Pestalozzian paradigm laid the foundation for qualitative research methods as well as student-centered curricula evident in today's more liberal private schools.

Subject Area

Education history|Educational theory|Educational sociology|American history

Recommended Citation

Welsh, Benjamin, "Into the eye of Monon: An historical and analytic philosophical investigation into the connotative concept of research as denoted by "Studies in Education", Volume I, Earl Barnes, Editor (Second Edition, Stanford University, 1903)" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9727315.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9727315

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