Pro­fes­sor says the­ory is in­te­grally and nec­es­sar­ily re­lated to prac­tice

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Javad Heiran­nia

TEHRAN — Joanne K. Ol­son, pro­fes­sor of Texas A&M Univer­sity, says “McK­eon ar­gued that the­ory is in­te­grally and nec­es­sar­ily re­lated to prac­tice, and pointed out that “any prob­lem pushed far enough is philo­sophic.”

Au­thor of “On Know­ing-The So­cial Sciences” also adds that “This book is a com­pi­la­tion of the con­tents of a course McK­eon taught to un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents in 1965, and is the sec­ond course in a se­ries of three: On Know­ing: The Nat­u­ral Sciences (pub­lished in 1994 by the Univer­sity of Chicago Press), On Know­ing: The So­cial Sciences, and On Know­ing: The Hu­man­i­ties (in prepa­ra­tion).”

Fol­low­ing is the full text of the in­ter­view:

What has been your main ques­tion in “On Know­ing-The So­cial Sciences”?

A: Richard McK­eon in­tro­duces read­ers to the whole field of the so­cial sciences by demon­strat­ing the act of phi­los­o­phiz­ing about how to do phi­los­o­phy. To do this, he ar­tic­u­lates four modes of thought that are used to un­der­stand, in­ves­ti­gate, and de­velop knowl­edge in the so­cial sciences. McK­eon ar­gued that the­ory is in­te­grally and nec­es­sar­ily re­lated to prac­tice, and pointed out that “any prob­lem pushed far enough is philo­sophic.” McK­eon saw the pur­pose of his schol­ar­ship as ul­ti­mately be­ing a prospec­tive cul­ti­va­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion among the diver­sity of in­di­vid­u­als and cul­tures world­wide. The pur­pose of the “So­cial Sciences” work is to pro­vide an in­tro­duc­tory view of McK­eon’s ap­proach to pre­par­ing for the fu­ture by means of de­vel­op­ing a set of abil­i­ties that can en­able re­flec­tive in­di­vid­u­als not only to nav­i­gate through but also to in­vent fruit­ful pos­si­bil­i­ties among the world’s cul­tures and the philoso­phies of those cul­tures.

What was the ne­ces­sity of writ­ing this book? A: Richard McK­eon (1900-1985) was trained as a philoso­pher at Columbia Univer­sity and in Europe just af­ter World War I and spent most of his pro­fes­sional life, from 1934 to 1974, at the Univer­sity of Chicago. McK­eon was deeply in­volved with the found­ing of the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion and was a highly re­garded philoso­pher and his­to­rian of phi­los­o­phy. This book is a com­pi­la­tion of the con­tents of a course McK­eon taught to un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents in 1965, and is the sec­ond course in a se­ries of three: On Know­ing: The Nat­u­ral Sciences (pub­lished in 1994 by the Univer­sity of Chicago Press), On Know­ing: The So­cial Sciences, and On Know­ing: The Hu­man­i­ties (in prepa­ra­tion). The edi­tors are com­mit­ted to help­ing McK­eon’s work reach a broad au­di­ence given the im­por­tance of his work for these mod­ern times.

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