Henry Margenau’s Philosophy as Frame of Reference in Teaching Science

  • Harold G. Cassidy


Knowledge, experience, and action encompass most of the academic side of education. * By knowledge I mean rational mental activities (activities in the brain) and the products of such activities as they may be written in articles and books; by experience I mean direct sensuous stimuli as well as the perceptions that arise when these are amplified by memory and connections to other brain processes; and by action I mean the application to practice of knowledge and experience. The three are not sharply categorizable, and in some cases may not be distinguishable at all. The power and usefulness of Henry Margenau’s philosophy, as I understand it from his The Nature of Physical Reality,(1) lie in its compellingly sensible approach which can usefully be applied to these three educational concerns.(2) Its importance lies in providing us with a comprehensive frame of reference of the kind that has been called for by T. R. Blackburn in his essay on sensuous-intellectual complementarity.(3) By comprehensive frame of reference I mean one that can give meaning to modern science as well as to the contemporary countercultures.(4) Use of this frame of reference in teaching physical science is philosophy by example, and it must be acknowledged that in such use there is less than enough room for the explicit qualifications and necessary subtleties that accompany his discussion in Margenau’s work. There is added the certainty that when an ideal is reduced to practice the results never meet the absolute standards of the ideal. I hope, however, that I have done no great violence to his thoughts.


Teaching Science Physical Reality Invariant Relation Material Universe Great Violence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold G. Cassidy
    • 1
  1. 1.Hanover CollegeGermany

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