Gibson, H (2011) 'Management, skills and creativity: the purpose and value of instrumental reasoning in education discourse.' Oxford Review of Education, 37 (6). pp. 699-716. ISSN 0305-4985

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Reason is a heterogeneous word with many meanings and functions. Instrumental reasoning is the ‘useful but blind’ variant that, for Horkheimer, presupposes ‘the adequacy of procedures for purposes more or less taken for granted and supposedly self-explanatory’. The paper argues that the root of instrumental reasoning is to be found in Hume and Weber and suggests that the problems associated with portraying reason as ‘inert’ or ‘formal’ underpin many areas of education policy today. A scrutiny of discourses on managerialism, skills and creativity suggests that they are not only bound by instrumental reasoning but tied to unacknowledged purposes associated with what Marcuse called ‘capitalist rationality’. The paper concludes by reflecting upon Habermas’ notion of substantive reasoning that offers education a way forward.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Hume , Weber , Habermas , managerialism , skills , creativity
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2013 14:51
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2016 12:11
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