Naturalising educational administration

Year: 2012

Author: Evers, Colin, Lakomski, Gabriele

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Epistemology has long been recognized for its role in shaping both the content and structure of substantive theories including administrative theories. Thus, logical empiricism lay behind traditional behavioural science of administration; arguments for subjectivism inform postmodern views of administration; and accounts of knowledge and its link to human interests have shaped critical perspectives on administration. In more recent times, substantive theories have returned the compliment by shaping the content and structure of epistemologies. This is most clearly seen in the case of the 'epistemology naturalized' thesis, although it can also be seen in other views. The thesis claims that our best guide to the nature of knowledge, its dynamics, and its justification can be found in an epistemology informed by natural science. Nowadays, the kind of science that is thought to hold most promise for this task is neuroscience, either in the form of a study of the actual physiological details of information processing and storage in the brain, or of mathematical models of these phenomena, sometimes known as neurocomputational models. This paper explores the issue of how a naturalistic epistemology informed by a number of recent advances in neuroscience and neurocomputational modelling can shape the content and structure of views about educational administration and leadership in distinctive ways.