Philosophy Philosophy is “a system for guiding life” or “a study of the most general causes and principles of the universe,” or “the study of truth or the principles underlying all knowledge” (Harold Barrow 1979). Philosophia in Greek means “love of wisdom.” Fields of philosophy There are different areas of philosophy, which include the following: Metaphysics: the study of the nature of reality. Ontology: the study of the nature of being. Theology: the study of the nature of God. Cosmology: the study of the nature of the universe. Epistemology: the study of the nature of knowledge. Axiology: the study of the nature of good. Aesthetics: the study of the nature of beauty. Politics: the study of the nature of the common good. Logic: the study of the relationship of ideas to one another. The mind and body Explain the role of mind and body? Mind and body Dualism is … The recognition of two independent powers of principles, such as mind and matter. The mind may be viewed as reflecting on our own thinking or consciousness. To be conscious does not involve being a certain shape or size or to move in a certain way and thus no extension can come from the mind. The body may be considered as not ‘me’ but part of the material world that most directly affects the mind. How does the mind and body interface? The mind may be the inner cause of behaviour not just behaviour re-described. Is pain physical or non-physical? Is the mind matter or non matter? Is the word mind the best description for the non-material? Is the brain a material governor? A physio- chemical machine? The body and being The relationship between mind-body are the relationships studied by philosophers. Phenomenologists (researchers of self- awareness) investigate body and being. They begin with the presumption that the body is the primary self and study the bodies experience in different sports situations, and note how it differs in nonphysical situations. Questions Are there absolute measures for determining good and evil, right and wrong? Do such standards change depending on the situation? What constitutes the “good life.”? What is the best form of government? What is the role of education in the social structure? What should be its goals? Should physical education be in a school curriculum? Sport as a meaningful experience The peak experience is “that moment when the person is totally involved, in control, and effortlessly touching that flow of personal perfection.” How do we experience things? It is temporal in character. It has elements of organic physical and cultural relatedness It involves the past, present and future. It has a time-space locus. It involves some object or phoneme in the experience It can be perceptual, imaginative or conceptual. Sport and aesthetics When does the phenomena have the quality to be considered art? Is movement to be considered a source of aesthetic experience? How do we judge a sports high dive or an ice- skating contest? Sport and values What values are generally taught in sport? Ethics define what people ought to do and morals describe what people do. Our beliefs dictate our behavior? A theory underlies every action? Does physical education teach moral behavior? Contemporary Philosophies of Education and Physical Education Naturalism Naturalism is based on its base word natural. It is a belief that the laws of nature govern everything in life. It states because nature is unchanging, anything of value will always work. Naturalism also emphasizes individualism by considering the person is more important than society as a whole. Although societal goals rank lower than individual goals, this system accepts the need for a social authority to prevent chaos. In Education In education the idea is the process should be geared to the student, rather than the student geared to the process. The teacher is both guide and educator. The teacher primarily helps the teacher to learn but nature does the teaching. The student must make an active effort to learn, with punishments and rewards as part of the process. The rate of learning depends on the student, because the educational process requires a physical and mental balance, rather than the promotion of one over the other. In Physical Education In physical education, naturalism considers the whole person, not just the physical aspect. Rousseau’s book “Emile” developed this idea emphasizing play as an important part of the process. Play has the element of competition but it is not strongly emphasized. Teaching is paced with the student’s needs, using reasonably democratic, informal methods. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this philosophical viewpoint? Idealism This school considers all things interpreted by the mind. All reality comes from the mind. People’s rational (reasoning) powers help them find the truth, although they may use scientific methods to help in the discovery. According to idealism people are more important than nature because their minds interpret everything in nature for them. Ideas are true and never change, so moral values never change. People have the freewill to choose right and wrong. In Education Most of the educational process under idealism is concerned with the mind, so content is objective. Education develops the individual personality, fostering moral and spiritual values are important. The teacher creates a learning environment, but the student is responsible for motivation and learning. Many teaching methods may be used, but education takes place primarily through the active effort of the student. In Physical Education Idealists consider physical education less important than the more thought-orientated, educational activities. Physical education is based on known truths, principles, and ideas that do not change, so the program can be rather fixed and formal, although not without variety in activities and teaching techniques. The teacher is an important example to the students, a role model in the use of ideas and values. Idealism Idealism is a well-developed, broad philosophy for education and physical education. It gives the student a strong place in the universe by developing a feeling of individual importance. It permits a broad physical and intellectual growth, with play and recreation making important contributions. At the same time many object to the idealist notion of teaching values that they have been established by past experience; there is less interest in dedication and sacrifice for example. Moreover some teachers’ actions may contradict the values they seek to teach, as in the saying “actions speak louder than words.” The idealist primary concern is to develop the mind and so values the physical as less important. Many idealists question the role of play in education. Realism Realism falls between naturalism and idealism. The philosophy argues that the physical world of nature is real, so people should use their senses and experiences to understand it. Experiment means, the scientific method, which helps realists discover and interpret truth. Realists believe that the physical things that happen result from physical laws of nature. They also hold that the mind and body cannot be separated: one is not superior to the other. Although naturalism does not permit religion (it puts nature above everything) and idealism does not permit religion, realism allows its adherents to go either way in determining their beliefs. In Education The first priority of the realist educational process is to develop the student’s reasoning power because that power is considered essential to further learning. Scientific, objective standards are always part of an orderly, scientifically orientated process and curriculum. In Physical Education Physical education is valuable in the realist curriculum because it results in greater health and productivity. Realists believe that a healthy person can lead a fuller life. The realist physical education program is based on scientific knowledge and uses many drills to instill knowledge according to scientific progression. Social behaviors and life adjustment are important benefits of recreational and sporting activities. Realism Realism deals with the world as we find it because the world of cause and effect cannot be changed. It gives physical education a clear function as a healthy physical basis for life. However, realism gives a more clearly defined place for physical education in the educational process than many other philosophies. Why? The authoritarianism suggested by the realist acceptance of standardization and drill learning is not consistent with the needs of democratic societies. Societal needs and trends are negligible factors in realism. Pragmatism Pragmatism is part of the broad philosophy of secularism. Pragmatism is a home grown American philosophy where as many others come from Europe. Some of the phases that highlight Pragmatism are: “if there is a will there is a way,” or “If it works use it.” The Pragmatist says, “ I don’t have time in my life to figure out all the mysteries about ultimate reality and ultimate purpose that religion and philosophy have been traditionally concerned about. I have to be busy with living. My life involves encountering a myriad of problems and I need to find solutions to those problems.” Modern man looks towards the scientific community to solve problems. Pragmatism Pragmatism was once called experimentation because it is based on learning from experiences or experiments. The theory argues that because change is a characteristic common to everything in life, success is the only reliable judge of any theory or truth; anything that is true can be proved. Success in social relations is important. The philosophy emphasizes societal living and preparing people to take their places in a harmonious society. Pragmatism The basic pragmatic educational tenet comes from John Dewey, who advocated “learning by doing,” or gaining knowledge through experience. At the same time, the emphasis is on the student rather than the subject area; each person is different, so not all students should be forced into the same mold. Problem solving (experience) is the basic educational method, and the ultimate judgments are made in terms of a person becoming the productive member of society. The need is to develop the total person- mind, body and soul, using a very broad process. Pragmatism According to the pragmatic view of education, physical activities have a social value, because they help integrate students into society by teaching them how to act and react with other people. The curriculum is based on the needs and interests of the students, and offers a variety of activities for a multiple of experiences. The problem-solving method is used even in physical education. The teacher tries to motivate the student rather than use standardized programs. Pragmatism Pragmatism is the practical approach to education that breaks down the distinctions between life in and out of school. It encourages people to cooperate by using a broad program based essentially on whatever works. Physical education has broad social uses and is important in pragmatism. However, pragmatism’s experimental approach to education is difficult to apply to physical education because the end result may be an unimaginable multitude of goals. The pragmatic philosophy of education has no fixed aims or values. It does not provide the stability and direction needed by many students. Existentialism “Man is a useless passion.” These words were penned by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and provide the model for modern existentialism. The cry is that passion makes a man more than an intellectual capacity or biological processes. Hence comes the questions today of “how do you feel about that,” rather than what do you think about that. Feelings have become the new standard of human truth. Existentialism This thought process comes as a reaction of the dry philosophical debates about what is man? The origins of this philosophy stem back to Freidrich Nietzsche who is famous for penning “God is dead.” This statement was taking secularism to its logical conclusion. If there is no God then we have the right to decide our own morals and ethics, if we simply have the courage to live by our convictions. The root of the matter though is called “nihilism.” Existentialism Existentialism judges everything in terms of the individual, who interprets experiences and develops a personal system of values. The person is more important than society, and whether the person fits into society is not the issue. Existentialism is often called negative Existentialism because they believe nothing can be done to change things. Existentialism The implications of this philosophy on education can be summarized as a process of learning about oneself and developing ones own beliefs. The school would only provide a learning environment. The student would control the curriculum and methods and the teacher would act as a stimulator. Responsibility towards oneself would be encouraged rather than towards society. Students would be made aware that they are responsible for the consequences of their decisions. Existentialism In physical education, existentialism would allow freedom of choice within the program. This might take any form and therefore could not be planned ahead by the teacher. A wide variety of activities would result in the development of creativity. The teacher would act as the counselor by pointing out the various available activities, and ultimately the students would be responsible for selecting the activities in which to participate. Existentialism Based on these suppositions, the philosophy would appear to have only one real strength: individuality, which makes each student very important. The importance of each student in the school community and particularly in the outside world would be hard to meet the existentialist’s requirements. Humanistic education Humanism has a long history stemming back to Protagoras a Greek Philosopher who developed the concept of humanism. His motto was “Homo mensure.” The idea is that man is the measure of all things. This philosophy and its teaching led to a great debate between Martin Luther and Erasmus in the sixteenth century. Erasmus stated his belief “ad fontes” which means “to the source.” Humanistic education What had happened in the renaissance was the rebirth or the rediscovery of learning Luther and Erasmus’s debate is symbolic of the conflict of humanism and the church. Man –centered or God- centered. Humanism is a philosophy has central to it the concern that man’s welfare is central, or put another way it is the belief that every human being is an individual and should be treated as an individual rather than part of a larger group. Humanistic education The educational approach of the humanist tries to counter the impersonal aspects of living in a crowded society by trying to show concern to every person. It encourages the involvement of everyone in the educational process, not just some of the members of the group. The humanist does not try to make each person the center of everything in education. It is simply an effort to ensure that each person retains a personal identity in society. Humanistic education The approach tries to maximize student’s potential contributions to society, and to develop maximum student self-respect. Physical education can be part of a more humanistic society because its activities include very close primary contact between individuals and groups. What are the different types of thinking? Mental wandering Intuitive thinking Creative thinking Problem solving Deep thought Comprehensive thinking Trying to recall. Responsiveness Rationalizing. How do we apply philosophy in physical education? Philosophy is a vital part of the physical education programmes because it is a major influence on the early stages of program planning. Facts + Philosophy Principles + Needs Goals + standards Policies and procedures Ethics and problems in Education Ethics is a normative science, searching for the principle foundations that prescribe obligations or “oughtness.” It is concerned primarily with the philosophical premises upon which imperatives are based. Morality is a descriptive science, concerned with “isness” and the indicative. Morals describe what people do; ethics define what people ought to do. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS What physical education philosophy best represents your views? How would you describe the philosophy underlying the physical education program in the high school you attended? Which "philosophy" seems to dominate professional sport? Which philosophy dominates activity at a local fitness club? Which dominates youth sport?
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