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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 3, 2018

Constantine D. Skordoulis
Pages 172-187

How Marxist History of Science Can Inform a Pedagogy of Science for Social Justice

The scope of this paper is to examine the perspectives for a pedagogy of science for social justice situated in the framework of Marxism by proceeding to an analysis and a contemporary evaluation of the work of the scholars who are considered as the initiators of the Marxist history of science. In this paper therefore, I review N. Bukharin’s and B. Hessen’s seminal papers as presented in the 2nd International Congress of History of Science and Technology in 1931 in London. This Congress was marked by the appearance of the Soviet delegation influencing a generation of radical scientists in Britain with the most prominent figure being J. Bernal. I present J. Bernal’s views as developed in his most important work “The Social Function of Science” with an emphasis on his writings on science education and the role of science teachers for the emancipation of society. Finally, I present the work of the Austromarxist and member of the Left Vienna Circle E. Zilsel on “The Social Origin of Modern Science” contemplating on his work as an adult educator in the period that Vienna was governed by the Austrian Social Democratic Workers Party. Emphasis is placed on the role of science and education as a vehicle for raising proletarian self-awareness. The analysis of the legacies and works of these scholars of the Marxist tradition in the history of science shows that it can form the basis for a Marxist pedagogy of science that can change society and its practices in our epoch when education in science and pedagogy of science are considered one of the most important pillars of contemporary science policy.

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