Science & Education

, Volume 17, Issue 8–9, pp 1033–1052 | Cite as

Addressing controversies in science education: a pragmatic approach to evolution education

  • David Hildebrand
  • Kimberly BilicaEmail author
  • John Capps
Original Paper


Science education controversies typically prove more intractable than those in scientific research because they involve a wider range of considerations (e.g., epistemic, social, ethical, political, and religious). How can educators acknowledge central issues in a controversy (such as evolution)? How can such problems be addressed in a way that is ethically sensitive and intellectually responsible? Drawing in part on pragmatic philosopher John Dewey, our solution is politically proactive, philosophically pragmatic, and grounded in research. Central to our proposal is (1) steps toward creating a philosophical “total attitude” that is democratic, imaginative, and hypothetical; (2) a deeper understanding of how scientific theories can be pragmatically true; and (3) an assessment of differing pedagogical approaches for teaching evolution in the classroom.


Pragmatic philosophy Dewey John Controversial topics/curriculum Science education Evolution education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences CenterDenverUSA
  2. 2.Curriculum and Instruction, Science Education Emphasis, College of Education and Human DevelopmentThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

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