ERIC Number: ED237649
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Critical Issues in Empirical Human Science: The Contribution of Phenomenology.
Sexton-Hesse, Charlene A.
Issues that are central to science when the object of inquiry is the human being need clarification and analysis. These issues can be formulated as a question, such as, "How can researchers in adult and continuing education conduct research that is empirical human science; that is, how can they study human beings as persons with values, will, and freedom, and still meet the requirements of a scientific community?" The focus of research in adult and continuing education, as in most other areas in the human sciences, has been knowledge for prediction and control. As a field of practice, however, it also needs knowledge about human growth and development. Research studies in the human sciences have often suffered from the tendency to increase the objectivity of the study by ignoring the human condition, or to neglect objectivity while pursuing subjective aspects through self-reporting techniques, interviews, and so on. The impact of these competing constraints on research in the social sciences has restricted its content. In order to conduct research that is empirical human science, researchers need to examine the relationship of philosophy and science, particularly the meaning of subjectivity and objectivity in phenomenological philosophy. Phenomenology as a philosophy has as its chief concern "everything presented to us directly." No objects as such exist, only subjective experiences that refer to objects. Phenomenology's definitions of subjectivity and objectivity can demonstrate that empirical science and human science are not contradictory. Graduate students in adult education should understand this philosophy in order to be able to conduct more meaningful research. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Philadelphia, PA, November 29 - December 2, 1983).