Essay on Alan Cromer’s Connected Knowledge

1413 Words 6 Pages
Alan Cromer’s Connected Knowledge

A prospective reader casually thumbing through the pages of Alan Cromer’s Connected Knowledge: Science, Philosophy, and Education, would probably expect the book to explore how science and the philosophy of science should inform educational practices and pedagogy. Indeed such an exploration takes place, but the reader might be surprised to find that it is in the form of a vehement crusade Cromer wages against constructivism with science and a scientific habit of mind as his sword and shield. In battle like style, Cromer starts on the defensive, trying to debunk the postmodernist interpretations of modern physics often used to declare science and thus all other academic pursuits “subjective.”
…show more content…
According to Cromer, the dramatic nature of this transformation and its consequences led many outside the discipline to misinterpret modern physics. Constructivists in particular, he argues, have distorted the results of modern physics to support their perspective that science is transient, uncertain, and subjective.

The first of these misconceptions is the belief that science is prone to great revolutions that “weren’t necessarily breakthroughs to higher understanding, but the complete replacement of one set of ideas with another” (8). This misconception leads to the conclusion that science does not progress toward understanding a true physical reality but merely provides a description popular for a given time and place. The second and third misconceptions arise from erroneous interpretations of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics predicts that one cannot know both the position and velocity of a quantum particle exactly. According to Cromer, this prediction has led many outside the field to conclude incorrectly that “quantum mechanics has introduced uncertainty ” into science (50). Finally, because measurements on a quantum system necessarily alter physical constraints on the system, the process of observation influences the physical state measured. If the final measurement depends on the observation, constructivists claim it must be subjective.

For the most part, Cromer’s response to the

Related Documents