K. Grue-Sørensen imellem filosofi og pædagogik
The philosophical situation at Copenhagen University in the 1960’s was dominated by two positivists. Th e
logical positivist Jørgen Jørgensen – who had written the history of the “movement” – and the legal positivist
Alf Ross. There were also two “outsiders”: Peter Zinkernagel, who did more analytical philosophy of language in the British style, and K. Grue Sørensen who was working in the traditions of neo-Kantianism. In 1955 Grue-Sørensen was hired as the first professor in education – after a long controversy about the scientific status ofeducation as a discipline – but with a focus on the history of education. He had received a doctoral degree in philosophy in 1950 with a dissertation on refl exivity as a philosophical concept and a thesis about the reflexivity of consciousness. He was also an objectivist in ethics, and had been critical of the prevalent moral relativism and subjectivism found in recent philosophy. Jørgensen and Ross had done important work on moral argumentation with more technical work on the logic of imperatives and norms. Moral objectivism was not only wrong but in a way also “immoral” because it undermined their belief in democracy. Especially Jørgensen also thought that the idea of reflexivity was wrong when applied to consciousness. Neither statements nor consciousness could be reflexive – that is refer to themselves/itself. The reflexivity of consciousness is – according to Jørgensen – simply not an empirical psychological fact. Grue-Sørensen tried to establish the foundation of a theory of education based both on conceptions of consciousness and of the relation between scientific knowledge – facts – and moral values – in a neo-Kantian fashion. For him the interplay between ethics and knowledge was a central part of a theory of education – a belief due to which he never became a professor of philosophy – having tried many times. These debates in philosophy and in education were superseded in the 1970’s by the rise in influence of the German inspiration from Critical Theory and the demise of logical positivism.
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