THE ROLE OF THE CHILD'S ACQUISITION OF THE CONCEPT OF NECESSITY IN THE LEARNING OF THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Murray, F.B., University of Delaware, USA
We have established that there are two kinds of pupils, those who hold their views by necessity and those who do not. The question naturally arises whether one of these two kinds is easier to teach than the other. We examined this question and found that those without necessity showed no significant gains on an immediate posttest and one given four weeks later. Those with necessity, on the other hand, showed significant covaried posttest gains on both posttests as well as significant superiority over those without necessity on each posttest. In a second study we found that those with necessity were more likely than those without necessity to give good arguments (viz., identity, negation, and compensation) and to recognize poor arguments. In sum, those who can support their conclusions with the deductive force of necessity, even when they are wrong in their conclusion, appear to be more developmentally advanced than their colleagues who do not use necessity as part of the justification for their conclusion.