The Problem of Standardized Education in the Light of Richard Rorty's Concept of Contingency

Rth-Research Trends in Humanities Education and Philosophy 7 (2020):51-66 (2020)
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Using Richard Rorty’s concept of contingency, this paper aims to show that standardized education is problematic; it cannot truly ensure or even accurately measure quality in education. Why Richard Rorty? Why his ideas? Rorty (1931-2007) was an American contemporary philosopher who was heavily influenced by pragmatism – a philosophical approach that is more concerned about the practical consequences of ideas rather than their theoretical elaboration. What I find interesting in Rorty is the fact that his pragmatism – or neo-pragmatism to be precise – holds the key to his philosophy of education. Rorty’s educational philosophy, built upon Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy of education, presents a postmodern vision of education, meaning to say, it does not readily accept and even challenges the status quo; as such, it questions the finality of established standards. Thus, on account of the characteristics that are peculiar to Rorty’s philosophy of education, he has become my logical choice: that is, I hope to attain the aim of this paper by using his neo-pragmatic and postmodern approach to education. Specifically, I will examine the problem of standardized education in the light of Rorty’s concept of contingency. To reach this end, I will first present his concept of contingency. I will next go into his philosophy of education. Then, I will give a general overview of standardized education. Finally, I will expose where the problem of standardized education lies with the aid of Rorty’s concept of contingency and, needless to say, offer Rortyan recommendations, if not outright solutions, to this problem.

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Alexis Deodato Itao
Cebu Normal University


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