Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 15, Issue 3, Fall 2011

Phenomenology and Classroom Computer Simulation

Robert Rosenberger
Pages 215-228

A Phenomenological Defense of Computer-Simulated Frog Dissection

Defenders of educational frog dissection tend to emphasize the claim that computer-simulated alternatives cannot replicate the same exact experience of slicing open a frog, with all its queasy and visceral impact. Without denying that point, I argue that this is not the only educational standard against which computer-simulated dissection should be evaluated. When real-world frog dissection is analyzed as a concrete technological practice rather than an assumed ideal, the particular educational advantages distinct to real-world dissection and virtual dissection can be enumerated and compared. Building on the work of John Dewey and Don Ihde, I explore the still-expanding advantages of computer-simulated dissection, and in this proper context of comparison it becomes clear that virtual alternatives are increasingly the more educationally beneficial option.