Hyde, B. (2013). A category mistake: Why contemporary Australian religious education in Catholic schools may be doomed to failure. Journal of Beliefs & Values,34(1), 36-45. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2013.759344
Assuming religious education to be the same as other subject areas of a Catholic school’s curriculum by, for example, applying the outcomes based philosophy and language of other subject areas to religious education renders a category mistake. A prominent notion in the work of metaphysical philosopher Gilbert Ryle, a category mistake arises when facts of one kind are presented as if they belong to another. This is significant. When Australian Catholic diocesan syllabus documents treat and describe religious education as being like other subjects comprising the curriculum, a category mistake is made, the effects of which may be damaging for student learning. Following an examination of relevant Church documents to describe its purpose, a brief analysis of contemporary Australian Catholic diocesan religious education syllabi (cases in point) indicates that a series of category mistakes have been made. These findings have significance in informing the development and refinement of theory, policy and practice in religious education.
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