Knowledge, Belief, and Science Education
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This article intends to show that the defense of “understanding” as one of the major goals of science education can be grounded on an anti-reductionist perspective on testimony as a source of knowledge. To do so, we critically revisit the discussion between Harvey Siegel and Alvin Goldman about the goals of science education, especially where it involves arguments based on the epistemology of testimony. Subsequently, we come back to a discussion between Charbel N. El-Hani and Eduardo Mortimer, on the one hand, and Michael Hoffmann, on the other, striving to strengthen the claim that rather than students’ belief change, understanding should have epistemic priority as a goal of science education. Based on these two lines of discussion, we conclude that the reliance on testimony as a source of knowledge is necessary to the development of a more large and comprehensive scientific understanding by science students.
KeywordsScience Teaching Science Teacher Critical Thinking Scientific Theory True Belief
We would like to thank Harvey Siegel, Ben McMyler, Michael Hoffmann, and two anonymous reviewers, who made valuable criticisms and comments on a previous version of this article, which greatly contributed to its improvement. We are also thankful to Nei Nunes-Neto, Rosileia Oliveira Almeida, Carlos Augusto Sartori, and Tiegue Vieira Rodrigues for their comments, which also contributed to improving the paper. We are also indebted to two anonymous reviewers who brought important contributions to the final version of the paper. We are thankful to the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the support to the research who led to this paper, through Grants Nos. 301259/2010-0 (CNEH) and 312567/2013-8 (WJSF). We also thank the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for the Research Fellowship No. 002706/2015-06 (TASF).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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