NZASE is affiliated to the Royal Society of New Zealand

The Royal Society of New Zealand believes that education, particularly at the primary and secondary school level, is critically important to New Zealand’s future. Through education, they work to develop a scientifically and technologically literate society able to utilise knowledge, skills and opportunities for our social, environmental and economic betterment. The Society, in its unique position as the interface between scientific and technological practice and education, is involved in a variety of initiatives with these as their ultimate goals.

• Resources for schools
• Medals and Special awards
• Programmes
• Competitions
• Student Showcase
• Funding for Teachers
• Funding for Students
• Ethics
• Tertiary Students
• Education Links

The implications for science education of the hermeneutic philosophy of science

Robert Shaw
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand


This paper introduces a modern philosophical tradition and indicates its implications for science education. The hermeneutic philosophy of science is the tradition of Kant, Heidegger, and Heelan. Essential to this tradition are two concepts of truth, truth as correspondence and truth as disclosure. It is these concepts that enable access to science in and of itself. Modern science forces aspects of reality to reveal themselves to human beings in events of disclosure. The achievement of each event of disclosure requires the precise manipulation of equipment, which is an activity that depends on truth as correspondence.

The implications of the hermeneutic philosophy of science for science education are profound. The paper refers to Newton’s early work on optics to explore what the theory implies for teaching. Science is about a relationship between each student, equipment, and reality. Science teachers provide for their students access to truth and they may show how their discipline holds a special relationship to reality. If the aim of science teaching is to enable students to disclose reality, the science curriculum will challenge some of the current practices of schooling. If teachers base science teaching upon the hermeneutic philosophy of science, science will assert itself as the intellectual discipline that derives from nature, and not from the inclinations of human beings. It will become apparent that science teachers teach nature’s own science.

Keywords: philosophy of science, hermeneutics, Kant, Heidegger, Heelan, Newton, truth, reality, science education, science teaching.

Download the full paper here >


ResearchEd News No 4

ResearchEd News No 2

Helix and Scientriffic magazines

The Helix and Scientriffic magazines are two of the best science and technology magazines for children. Produced by the CSIRO, Australia, they are published every two months. Subscriptions cost $40 per year or $70 for both, and you can order them from: or from:

Helix is for anyone over the age of about 10 and is full of amazing science information, cool activities and competitions. You can find out more about it at:

Scientriffic is for those from about 7 years old to 10, and has fascinating articles, fun and easy to do experiments, puzzle pages, a great comic, plus competitions, crossword and freebies! Scientriffic also comes with a Teachers Guide and is for ages 7 and up. Find out more at:

Scicon08 Papers and Presentations