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Heidegger in the Hands-on Science and Technology Center: Philosophical Reflections on Learning in Informal Settings

Heidegger in the Hands-on Science and Technology Center: Philosophical Reflections on Learning in Informal Settings

Unusual for the philosophy of education, this paper takes Martin Heidegger's essay of 1954 The Question Concerning Technology as its starting point and applies it to a practical problem which is: Can interactive science and technology centers reveal the essence of technology to the lay visitor? At the outset this sounds like an unusually over-specific application of Heidegger's ideas to a single special case. But the notion that the interactive science and technology center (ISTC) does provide a valid and instructive vehicle for the discussion of Heidegger's ideas, particularly in their application to education, will be maintained throughout this article. There is also a sense in which Heidegger's essay has more relevance now in the present ecologically aware age than it did when it was written in the 1950s. In order to set this paper into context, a slight departure has been made from the path of philosophical analysis in order to identify what is meant by an ISTC and by the exhibits found therein. It is worth saying that considerable investment has been made around the world in these centers in both developed and developing nations and yet no detailed philosophical analysis has...

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