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Systems Theory and education: A philosophical enquiry into Education Systems Theory
chapterposted on 26.03.2019, 16:02 by Alison Taysum
This chapter focuses on a critical reading of the philosophical underpinnings of systems theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory as they pertain to the philosophy of education. I will describe and critique how systems theory identifies particular elements of a system that function in a linear fashion. Standards are the master that the products, including the humans of the system(s) must satisfy, to conform to the demands of human capital by an economy. I will then develop a critical reading of how innumerable systems are located within a chaos theory. Chaos theory focuses on the current conditions in context, where structures are the policies and regulations, and agency is the power individual(s) have to operate within those structures, over those structures, or the power to resist orders from the structures. Shakespeare gives Hamlet the dialogue that with chaos one suffers ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes which brings into sharp focus whether a person should ‘be’ or ‘not be’. The critical reading will explore how, with a moral compass that ensures the prevalence of an overarching ethical framework, or ethos, the outrageous fortunes are regulated. Pring (2000) argues that morals deal with the right or wrong thing to do, whilst ethics is ‘the philosophical enquiry into the basis of morals or moral judgement’ (p.140). Ethics is the search for rules to guide human behaviour and these rules may be in the form of prime principles that guide judgements about morals. Systems theory and chaos theory have progressed the neo-liberal project which is subject to de-regulation, which removes state intervention of a moral compass that ensures the prevalence of an ethical framework and the application of human rights. As such the neo-liberal project is located within chaos, continuously on the edge of falling, or collapse, or indeed has fallen as evidenced by the global financial crisis of 2008. States have lost control of the neo-liberal project (Watson, 2001) and therefore cannot advocate for the rights of the child, or human rights (UN, 1948; 1989/90) which are trumped by the logic of the market. To avoid system failure an ethos, or a moral compass is required that assures the prevalance of an ethical framework and governance systems that prevents de-regulation of minimum labour wages, and assures social protection (Waquant, 1999). [Opening paragraph]