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Keywords:

  • Peirce;
  • reasoning;
  • learning;
  • qualification;
  • ethics;
  • aesthetics

Abstract

Although we all learn differently, we all need to be able to engage certain fundamental reasoning skills if we are to manoeuvre successfully through life—however we define success. Peirce's philosophy provides us with a framework for helping students (and ourselves) develop and hone the ability for making deliberate and well-considered choices. For, embedded within Peirce's complete body of work is a design for thinking that provides a sturdy foundation for the development of three important learning capabilities. These capabilities are 1) the ability to identify, compare, and contrast qualities, 2) the ability to perform analyses, and 3) the ability to interpret the meaning of signs. Although these capabilities may seem like the sort of skills that only older and academically inclined students can master, even young children and the intellectually challenged can learn to use them as well. Once teachers learn to develop their own intellectual potential by expanding these capabilities within themselves, they will be able to begin bringing about the development of these capabilities in their students. Once identified, developed, and applied to the mastery of educational skills and subject matter, these three fundamental learning capabilities (qualification, analysis, and interpretation), can form the foundation of a common-sense approach to educational reform. Peirce asserts that good reasoning must be informed by ethical considerations, which in turn has been informed by the highest of aesthetic impulses. From this, we can extrapolate the importance that an educational model based upon Peirce's philosophy must place upon aesthetic and ethical considerations, as well as logical ones. Once fully understood, the philosophy of education embedded within Peirce's epistemology can revolutionize educational practices at all levels of learning.