Many of us live in a hyper-economized world, in which personal identities and routine practices are significantly oriented towards production and consumption of for-profit goods and services. Extreme consumerism appears to be strongly associated with many personal, social and environmental problems. It is apparent that professional science and science education help facilitate this problematic hypereconomization. Briefly, science education tends to emphasize generation of knowledge producers, including engineers, scientists and other symbolic analyzers — who, in turn, develop and manage mechanisms of production of goods and services. At the same time, fields of professional science (e.g., via data-mining and marketing) and science education (e.g., via guided discovery inquiries) orient citizens towards habits of unquestioning and enthusiastic consumption of goods and services. Central to this system of problematic forprofit hyper-consumerism appear to be epistemological and ethical considerations. Science, for example, often is seen — largely misleadingly — as a very systematic and decontextualized process generating highly effective and unproblematic products/services that can contribute greatly to individuals’ wellbeing. In this paper, we counter these epistemological and ideological stances through argumentative support — partly through summaries of two educational case studies (Science and the City and STEPWISE) — for communitarianism. Under this philosophy, knowledge is seen as historically and temporally complex, perhaps leading us to a communalist (if not altruistic) ethical position with regards to the wellbeing of individuals, societies and environments. Ramifications of these positions for science education may include: Equity, Diversity, Holism, Breadth, Depth, Empowerment, Self-determination, Enlightenment, and Responsibility.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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