Among the aims of education is the endeavor to bring students closer to an understanding of the world-at-large. Although pedagogical methods vary, educators would certainly agree that changing students' knowledge and beliefs is among the end-goals of successful education (Murphy, 1998, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University of Maryland, College of Education, College Park, MD). In the educational research literature, this "coming to know" has been referred to as conceptual change, and more recently there has been a resurgence of interest in "coming to believe" most often referred to as persuasion. Given that many researchers have defined belief as a form of knowledge, the delineating features of these two constructs are somewhat opaque. This present work closely examines these two constructs by identifying theoretical forbears of conceptual change and persuasion theory in the domains of philosophy and psychology with the intent of tracing their influence on educational research and practice.
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