Staging Science: Some aspects of the production and distribution of science knowledge

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The dissertation presents a phenomenological view on the interaction between science knowledge and prescientific knowledge. Drawing on Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Lévinas the human bodily grounded existence is described, the central feature of this existence being its responsivity to the Other. This responsivity is presented as the starting point for the production of science knowledge, thus making science knowledge always situated as knowledge-put-to-use. The presentation is using the metaphor of a "stage of events", which presents events as if staged on a "theatrical stage". To exemplify the production of science knowledge against the background of human bodily existence the discovery of the aetiology of puerperal fever by Semmelweis, and the attempt to construct a "musical model" of the universe by Johannes Kepler, are used. The two examples are presented as following a pattern of circularity: a "circuit of responsivity" is set off by viewing of a situation as presenting a difficulty, something to be amended. This ensues the translation to the "stage of events" of science knowledge, where problems can be formulated in a strict way, ideally already implying solutions. These latter must then be translated back onto the "stage of events" of the non-scientific everyday life, in order to evaluate their relevance for the originary situation, where amendment is sought. Some difference is seen between the two examples. Subsequently, two examples from school biology teaching (in a Swedish comprehensive school) are analysed (using a phenomenological approach, based on Husserl's transcendental phenomenology), interpreted, and discussed, using the metaphor of the "(theatrical) stages of events". The interaction between the "stages of events" of science (biology) and "everyday, non-scientific life" results in the construction of a "stage of school science (biology)". This leads to a specific construction of the human body in biology education, leading to a specific way of constructing human responsibility towards other life-forms, the environment etc - human beings are by biology education entitled to help themselves to the environment without limitations. There are certain gender aspects discernible in classroom interactions in one of the examples. The two historical examples serve as a part of the background of the discussion. The current debate on school science curriculum is providing further ingredients of that background.


  • Piotr Szybek
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • hermeneutics, phenomenology, philosophy of education, history and philosophy of science, ethical and political aspects, science curriculum, school science, Education, science education, life-world, Pedagogy and didactics
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Jan 14
  • Department of Education, Lund University
Print ISBNsISBN 91-628-3966-7
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2000-01-14 Time: 10:15 Place: Eden (H-huset), Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Chaiklin, Seth Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Aarhus University ---