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Teaching Natural Science in the Twenty-first Century: Opportunities and Dangers


by Ian Winchester — 2008

Perhaps the most distinctive achievement of Western civilization is its advancement of and reliance on the disciplines of natural science, allowing humans an unprecedented understanding—and influence—over their environment. This capacity to organize certain kinds of experience has succeeded spectacularly, sometimes beyond human control and sometimes to the exclusion of other ways of understanding. Here Ian Winchester contrasts science’s focus on regularities with history’s concerns with understanding the individual events, thoughts, and actions of particular people (including scientists). He explores how current scientific thinking came to be so dominant by tracing its development over three key historical periods.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 107. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 13, 2008, p. 158-170
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18469, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 3:51:36 AM

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About the Author
  • Ian Winchester
    University of Calgary
    E-mail Author
    IAN WINCHESTER was originally a physicist who (falsely) thought, after the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, that physics was intrinsically wicked and so decided to study medicine. Medicine, however, led to computing science and computing science led to philosophy, which, in turn, led to Oxford where he did his doctoral study. After Oxford he was hired at the University of Toronto to teach philosophy and to run the Canadian Social History Project. Later nominated for Dean of Education at the University of Calgary,Winchester was offered the job of turning that Faculty upside down, which he did. He has been the editor of Interchange: A Quarterly Journal of Education for the last 25 years and The Journal of Educational Thought for the last ten. He is presently back in Oxford with his wife working on reissuing The Idea of Nature by R.G. Collingwood for the Collingwood Society and the Oxford University Press.
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