The teaching and learning of ontology and epistemology is an important element of social sciences, as it helps students to appraise, differentiate and choose between competing schools, theories and analytical traditions. Thus, it encourages reﬂexive learning through the strategies of inquiry, role taking and benign disruption.
However, the authors argue that there are aspects within the most prominent introductory material on these meta-theoretical issues which may undermine the process. In particular, deﬁnitional inaccuracies and a lack of sustained reﬂection on the contested nature of the directional relationship between ontology and epistemology tend towards a prescriptive ‘path dependency’ and curtail the possibility of reﬂexive learning. This book aims to mend that issue.
Bates & Jenkins provide for a clear guide through the meaning and differences of ontology and epistemology while discussing how those are taught, too. Furthermore, the reason of why students and scholars should have a thoroughgoing understanding of both is clearly articulated in this essay: It enables and enhances our ability for reflexive learning, a capability which we need to develop and deepen in order to outgrow the roles we have as students once we are done with classes. Even though this essay talks about "Teaching and Learning Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science", this text is relevant for any student looking for an accessible introduction to the philosophy of science.