A Pragmatic Support for E.D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy Curriculum
McKinney, Shawn Michael
MetadataShow full item record
The educational curriculum proposed by E.D. Hirsch, cultural literacy, is based on the idea that shared general knowledge among members of a society facilitates discourse among those members, as well as a platform for comparing and understanding the knowledge of other societies. Hirsch's work focuses on emancipatory and communicative justifications for his program, but omits any kind of specific epistemological base. To that end I propose that Hirsch's program would be well served by adopting an epistemology of the sort Richard Rorty presents in his works on pragmatism. A pragmatic epistemology rejects the correspondence theory of truth in favor of socially agreed upon standards for truth determined experientially. This type of approach to knowledge acknowledges the influence of social and historical factors in knowledge determination. My argument is that this pragmatic epistemology supports cultural literacy by making the criteria for acceptable beliefs the very object of the cultural literacy program, specifically the historical and cultural beliefs of a given society.