Philosophy of Education

Topics: Philosophy, Education, Analytic philosophy Pages: 16 (6116 words) Published: April 26, 2013

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William K. Frankena
Nicholas C. Burbules
Nathan Raybeck
The word education is used sometimes to signify the activity, process, or enterprise of educating or being educated and sometimes to signify the discipline or field of study taught in schools of education that concerns itself with this activity, process, or enterprise. As an activity or process, education may be formal or informal, private or public, individual or social, but it always consists in cultivating dispositions (abilities, skills, knowledges, beliefs, attitudes, values, and character traits) by certain methods. As a discipline, education studies or reflects on the activity or enterprise by asking questions about its aims, methods, effects, forms, history, costs, value, and relations to society. Definition

The philosophy of education may be either the philosophy of the process of education or the philosophy of the discipline of education. That is, it may be part of the discipline in the sense of being concerned with the aims, forms, methods, or results of the process of educating or being educated; or it may be metadisciplinary in the sense of being concerned with the concepts, aims, and methods of the discipline. However, even in the latter case it may be thought of as part of the discipline, just as metaphilosophy is thought of as a part of philosophy, although the philosophy of science is not regarded as a part of science. Historically, philosophies of education have usually taken the first form, but under the influence of analytical philosophy, they have sometimes taken the second. In the first form, philosophy of education was traditionally developed by philosophers–for example, Aristotle, Augustine, and John Locke–as part of their philosophical systems, in the context of their ethical theories. However, in the twentieth century philosophy of education tended to be developed in schools of education in the context of what is called foundations of education, thus linking it with other parts of the discipline of education–educational history, psychology, and sociology–rather than with other parts of philosophy. It was also developed by writers such as Paul Goodman and Robert M. Hutchins who were neither professional philosophers nor members of schools of education. Types

As there are many kinds of philosophy, many philosophies, and many ways of philosophizing, so there are many kinds of educational philosophy and ways of doing it. In a sense there is no such thing as the philosophy of education; there are only philosophies of education that can be classified in many different ways. Philosophy of education as such does not describe, compare, or explain any enterprises to systems of education, past or present; except insofar as it is concerned with the tracing of its own history, it leaves such inquiries to the history and sociology of education. Analytical philosophy of education is meta to the discipline of education–to all the inquiries and thinking about education–in the sense that it does not seek to propound substantive propositions, either factual or normative, about education. It conceives of its task as that of analysis: the definition or elucidation of educational concepts like teaching, indoctrination, ability, and trait, including the concept of education itself; the clarification and criticism of educational slogans like "Teach children, not subjects"; the exploration of models used in thinking about education (e.g., growth); and the analysis and evaluation of arguments and methods used in reaching conclusions about education, whether by teachers, administrators, philosophers, scientists, or laymen. To accomplish this task, analytical philosophy uses the tools of logic and linguistics as well as techniques of analysis that vary from...
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