Empiricism and Rationalism in SA Education

Empiricism and Rationalism Theory in South Africa Education


Rationalism and empiricism are two philosophical theories that have had a significant impact on education in SA (South Africa). The fundamental role of experience is explained by empiricism. Empiricism believes that
all learning is the foundation of expertise. Empiricism holds that all concepts are derived from
experiences. Rationalism is the theoretical perspective that expertise is obtained through
reasoning but without the help of sensory experiences. The greatest description of this is
quantitative education since logical thinking alone enables everyone to fill in the extent of
numerical relationships, build evidence, and infer even more complex theoretical knowledge. South African education body focused relevant principles, observations, or justification primarily
through experiences by all reasonably acceptable predominance/conversions (Higgs, 2012). In
addition, they education system applied pragmatic theory of thinking or meaning derives from
experiences the importance of thoughts and sentences.  Although it is challenging to give a
definite purpose to the occasion, it can vary from the stylistic, theological, ethical, and perceptual
experiences. The empirical focus is mainly on the perception of experience, which arises from all
the senses arousal. Experiences are not, nevertheless, a source of all wisdom (Mwinzi, 2015).
Empiricism and rationalism are assumed that higher levels are directly caused by experiences at
the lower ranks and the lowest point.

Empiricism as speculative rationalism

Empiricism was considered a vital force against the pretense of speculative rationalism.
Most intellectuals in South Africa took the empirical and rational positions concerning their
thoughts, although they recognized the essential non-empirical information. In modern
philosophy, the early and distinctive phases of the speculation on old philosophy gave meaning.
The intellectuals also underlined the significance of monitoring. In South Africa, intellectual
discourses have always been divided about the transformation of education, learning, and
teaching. Historically, those educators operated in a socialist and modernist paradigm (Mwinzi, 2015). In contrast, others sat down in the broader general framework of so-called social
humanism, which propagates the democratization of schools and personal empowerment. Then
others pursued their efforts to analyze the university’s educational philosophy at the
London University.

Empiricism and rationalism in SA education

In other cases, empiricism and rationalism on education have been defined by a
structural-empirical technique that has led educators in northwestern and Free states institutions.
In the years before 1994, however, the theoretical framework designated as essential pedagogics
controlled the intellectual discussion concerning the nature of learning and practice as the crucial
terrain of apartheid in South Africa under the shape of a government system of Christian
education (Higgs, 2012). Therefore, the theory has been considered by the University of Pretoria,
South Africa, and Cape Town as an integral ingredient in apartheid education hegemony. It has
been the basis of most of the work done in the Faculty of Education (Letseka & Pitsoe, 2013). In
addition, the theory has played a significant part in South African teacher education as the
theoretical underpinning for its training was supplied to instructors.


The analytical exercise is also essential for instructors and students of educational
philosophy to define why and how one should study educational thought. In academic
philosophy, six distinct theoretical frameworks are recognized that affect education discourse:
empirical, critical rationality, conceptual criticality, African philosophy, and existentialism. The
techniques utilized for research into education and formulating pedagogical concepts and
practices, especially in the teaching field, are determined in these conceptual models.

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