Saturday, 26 April 2008

Education: William G Perry

Perry was an academic at Harvard who carried out a longitudinal studies of his students ideas about learning. It was a bit of an odd study - he had a number of deaths, all of the students were male, but this perhaps reflected the times it was carried out. Anyway his most important conclusion was his nine stage epistemology. For me it is the best presentation and clearest epistemology I have seen. What is striking about it is how few people - especially those who call themselves scientists, get anywhere near the higher levels of the epistemology. In fact if you asked most scientists what epistemology is they would not have any idea. How can you hope to understand something if you do not know what knowing means? How can you put what you do into context?

Putting Perry's biography article into context in Wikipedia. It was almost rejected as not notable. Yet there is a long article about William "The Fridge" Perry and he is apparently notable enough for wikipedia. I remember "The Fridge" and his campaign to try and bring American Football to the UK. I remember the Chicago Bears winning the Superbowl and I know that was one of the best rated sides of all time. But I am sorry that "The Fridge's" contribution to society is much less than the man who shared his name. That is the problem with knowledge it is defined in a social context, by what we think is important today - now.

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