Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 109-136

First online:

The Point of Scientificity, the Fall of the Epistemological Dominos, and the End of the Field of Educational Administration

  • Fenwick W. EnglishAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Leadership, School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The point of scientificity, or pos,represents a place in history whereeducational administration was founded as ascience. A pos creates a field of memoryand a field of studies. A pos isepistemologically sustained in its claim forscientific status by a line of demarcation orlod. A lod is supported by truthclaims based on various forms ofcorrespondence. As these forms have beeninterrogated and abandoned, correspondence hasgiven way to coherentism and finally to testsof falsification. As falsification has shownto contain serious flaws when compared to theactual history of scientific discoveries, theentire project of a distinct and unitaryfield known as educational administration isseriously cast into doubt. Contemporaryexaminations in educational administrationdiscourse show that even when the lod hasbeen undermined by epistemological shifts, theinitial pos has remained to supportclaims regarding the project of a ``science ofleadership.'' The analysis contained in thisarticle show, however, that when claims of thelod are demonstrably unsustainable, theinitial pos must be similarly abandoned. With that collapse the concept of a fieldis likewise effaced. The epistemologicalalternative is to envision fields ofstudy which do not require a lod, excepton a longitudinal basis to ascertain whether aresearch program shaped and sustained by it isprogressive or regressive. In short, there areno aprori meta-criteria to separate sciencefrom non-science in educationaladministration.

educational administration epistemology field conceptions line of demarcation paradigm point of scientificity research program