Scientism, Philosophy and Brain-Based Learning

Northwest Journal of Teacher Education 11 (1):113-144 (2013)
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Abstract

[This is an edited and improved version of "You Are Not Your Brain: Against 'Teaching to the Brain'" previously published in *Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning* 5(15), Summer 2012.] Since educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice, and since empirical science is now accepted in our worldview as the final arbiter of truth, it is no surprise they have been lured toward cognitive neuroscience in hopes that discovering how the brain learns will provide a nutshell explanation for student learning in general. I argue that identifying the person with the brain is scientism (not science), that the brain is not the person, and that it is the person who learns. In fact the brain only responds to the learning of embodied experience within the extra-neural network of intersubjective communications. Learning is a dynamic, cultural activity, not a neural program. Brain-based learning is unnecessary for educators and may be dangerous in that a culturally narrow ontology is taken for granted, thus restricting our creativity and imagination, and narrowing the human community.

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Gregory Michael Nixon
Louisiana State University (PhD)

Citations of this work

Development of Cultural Consciousness: From the Perspective of a Social Constructivist.Gregory M. Nixon - 2015 - International Journal of Education and Social Science 2 (10):119-136.
Philosophical Sentiments Toward Scientism: A Reply to Bryant.Moti Mizrahi - 2021 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (11):19-24.

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References found in this work

Facing up to the problem of consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
The Visible and the Invisible: Followed by Working Notes.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1968 - Evanston [Ill.]: Northwestern University Press. Edited by Claude Lefort.
Facing up to the problem of consciousness.D. J. Chalmers - 1996 - Toward a Science of Consciousness:5-28.

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