On Learning

A general theory of objects and object-relations

David Scott

ISBN: 9781800080027

Publication: May 20, 2021

What is this?

This is a philosophical work that develops a general theory of ontological objects and object-relations. It does this by examining concepts as acquired dispositions, and then focuses on perhaps the most important of these: the concept of learning. This concept is important because everything that we know and do in the world is predicated on a prior act of learning.

A concept can have many meanings and can be used in a number of different ways, and this creates difficulty when considering the nature of objects and the relationships between them. To enable this, David Scott answers a series of questions about concepts in general and the concept of learning in particular. Some of these questions are: What is learning? What different meanings can be given to the notion of learning? How does the concept of learning relate to other concepts, such as innatism, development and progression?

The book offers a counter-argument to empiricist conceptions of learning, to the propagation of simple messages about learning, knowledge, curriculum and assessment, and to the denial that values are central to understanding how we live. It argues that values permeate everything: our descriptions of the world, the attempts we make at creating better futures and our relations with other people.

Praise for On Learning

'Provides a nuanced and layered understanding of the complex concept and practice of learning to students and researchers.'
Educational Review

David Scott is Emeritus Professor of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education.


Part One: The general theory

1 Introduction – learning as a concept and as a practice

2 Transcendental knowledge

3 Judgements and criteria

4 Object-relations – research into learning

5 Values and learning theories

6 Difference

7 Knowledge dualities

8. Institutional/systemic power

9 Identity and consciousness

10 The general theory

Part Two: Learning as a concept and a practice

11 Philosophies of learning

12 Learning theories and models

13 Technology, artificial intelligence and learning

14 Literacy and numeracy

15 Dispositions – innateness and essentialism

16 Progression and Learning

17 Pedagogy as reflection and Imagination

18 Curriculum and assessment

19 A history, archaeology and genealogy of learning

20 Time and learning

21 Spatial relations

22 A conclusion – learning as a disposition



'Provides a nuanced and layered understanding of the complex concept and practice of learning to students and researchers.'
Educational Review


Format: Open Access PDF

Copyright: © 2021

ISBN: 9781800080027

Publication: May 20, 2021

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