PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, November 17, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Education, Indoctrination and Instruction (Repeat)

Dear friends,

I am terribly sorry that last Sunday I couldn't make it due to a very
bad cold. As a consequence we still have to discuss the topic:
Education, Indoctrination and Instruction

By education we mean in our context school and academic education: the
stuff we were subjected to for most of our early years in life. Today it
is not clear what the scope of this model of imparting received
knowledge to young people is. Is it to keep young people off the
streets? Or maybe, indeed, to teach young people some of our acquired
knowledge which may or may not be useful in their later life but
certainly a means to enlighten them.

Today some believe that education is mainly there for two purposed: the
first is to select people who have the necessary mental skills to learn
the content of the subject matter at hand (maths, science, language) and
the second purpose is to train people to be conformists and thus train
better for employment later in life and wealth creation. The problem
here is that today we know very well that not everyone learns the same
way and certainly we don't learn the same way a selected set of issues.
And then screen for the best and then abandoning the rest seems a bit

There is no question that we do need to learn some of the most important
knowledge in our culture and most of which is taught in schools. We do
need to learn about physics, art history, maths and the rest of the
subject. But today we have access to all the information and knowledge
that has ever been created by human beings. We can store at home on a
hard disk a few medieval libraries at the very least. Today social dived
is less about money and more about accessing information and processing
that information. For example how can 17 million people believe that a
country of 65 million people can thrive and prosper isolated from the
major population blocks? The problem isn't one of lack of information
but lack of skills at interpreting that information and recognizing the
type of knowledge required to understand international relations.

Therefore, because the information and knowledge we ever want is already
out there, the problem solving today in our day to day life isn't just
the non existence of knowledge. The emphasis today should be in teaching
people how to access the relevant information (knowledge) we need for
our objectives and most important of all recognizing that some
information is relevant for our need.

This is where instruction comes in: instruction is more about how to do
things rather what things exist. In the course of today, and being a
holiday, I solved a problem regarding my photography. Admittedly my
solution is not 100% but my objectives were achieved: all this by having
access to YouTube and Google search, and then buying some software off
the internet (six Euros) and other hardware just under 32 Euros. The
point is that I had no idea how to solve this problem and therefore need
some people to help me; some videos were very good, other had expensive
options, one suggested a nice work around etc etc.

Today's deficit people have with solving problems is that many of us
were not taught nor instructed on how to go about solving problems for
ourselves. If I wanted to solve my problem 100% I would have needed to
spend a good 800 Euros minimum. I grant you that not every day is a
holiday and not everyone is mad to watch video after video on something
that is confusing at best, but if I can do it then the rest of the world
can solve many more complex problems.

So the question we might ask is how come the odd 700 or so people in
parliament today with practically all the money and authority they can
have are unable to solve such problems as universal health care that's
free at the point of use, affordable housing or a living wage? I am not
saying that these problems are easy to solve, but given that many people
do achieve these objectives why are these needs still major issues in
most societies.

It could very well be that people just don't know how to solve something
even though people have the tools and the means to solve a big part of
the problem. But it could very well be that maybe it is not in the
interest of some people to solve problems. And this is where
indoctrination comes in. It took me most of the day of determination,
mental frustration and less than 40 euros to solve 80% of a problem, not
taking into account my other equipment, or spend just under a thousand
euros to solve 99.9% of the problem? If I believed the rhetoric that
there isn't a cheaper way to solve my problem I might have been tempted
to increate the profits of some corporation.

Indoctrination is biased! Why spend millions of euros trying to persuade
people that it is ok and cool to criminally contravene the constitution
or to persuade people that pursuing isolationist policies is the world's
best strategy for wealth creation and distribution.

For us as philosophers, the objective of this topic includes identifying
the necessary and sufficient conditions to recognise instruction from
indoctrination. And then from this position appreciate the criteria for
what is knowledge and what is worth teaching for educating people to
benefit themselves and society in general.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813

PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Café Madrid
Calle del Meson de Panos in Opera

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Education,
Indoctrination and Instruction (Repeat)

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