5 Studying as Experimentation: Habits and Obstacles in the Ecology of the University
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 3 Issue 3 Year 2021 pp. 55 - 67
In this article, and through thinking-with John Dewey, we consider the nature of the experiment and how we, as students and scholars, from experiments learn how to increase our purposeful transactions with the world. We particularly emphasize how knowing, knowledge, and thinking, all prominent concepts in the literature about the purpose of higher education, are outcomes of experimenting with obstacles, problems, or possible paths and movements. With this Deweyan point in mind, we argue against skepticism about educational “outcomes” and false dichotomies between experimentation and “outcomes.” In the article, we suggest that outcomes of experiments are events, or happenings, which change things and introduce newness, future, through which paths between before and coming change. Such a conception of outcomes is radically different than what we, and others, in the literature call “outcomes-driven.” Paraphrasing Dewey, such outcomes are adventures not insurance. Finally, we encourage a conversation about what experimentation normatively, conceptually and practically means as a purpose for higher education.