Faculty Publications

Title

The Scientific Knowledge Base of Special Education: Do We Know What We Think We Know?

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Exceptional Children

Volume

64

Issue

4

First Page

493

Last Page

502

Abstract

Leading scholars in special education acknowledge that the field has recently come under intense public criticism. Various defenses have been offered, including the lack of appropriate conditions under which to implement the knowledge base of special education. The nature of this knowledge base is examined, in particular the claim that special education possesses scientifically derived technologies. Specifically, a case is made that the term "science" is misused, and that the methods of empiricist science are inappropriately applied to study of special education. It is concluded that many, if not most, of the criticisms leveled at special education can be traced back to this misunderstanding of science. As a result, the field would do well to reconsider its philosophical ancestry.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1998

DOI of published version

10.1177/001440299806400405

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