Knowledge of Education


'Universals' are "forms or essences" that are not limited to time or place (Steiner, 1988, p. 5).

Note: a universal sign is a symbol whose object is a universal class not limited to time or place.

Steiner goes on to say:

For example, theoretical fact about learning is fact about what is common to all occurrences of learning no matter where or when they occur. Theoretical fact sets forth the essential characteristics or properties of learning. That a change in behavior is an essential characteristic of learning is not a theoretical fact; that a change in psychical state is an essential characteristic of learning is a theoretical fact. Theoretical knowing of learning is grasping all of the essential properties of learning. (p. 5, italics added)

She further writes:

Universals must be distinguished from individuals that are characterized through universals. However, the distinction cannot be made in terms of classes and elements. Not all classes are universal. To be a universal, a class must not be limited by time or place. For example, learning is a universal class because learning is not limited to organisms of the planet earth at this time. The class of learning is universal for it includes all organisms wherever and whenever they are in the universe.... But if the limitation is in terms of time and place, as in learning at Indiana University, the class is individual not universal. (p. 5, bolding and italics added)