The SAGE Handbook of Philosophy of Education
Publication Year: 2010
Subject: Social/Philosophical Foundations
This book provides an authoritative, yet accessible guide to the philosophy of education, its scope, its key thinkers and movements, and its potential contribution to a range of educational concerns. The text offers a balanced view of three key dimensions: first, in giving an equal weight to different styles and modes of philosophy; second, by including past and present perspectives on philosophy of education; and third, in covering both the general “perennial” issues in philosophy and issues of more contemporary concern.
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Section I: Educational Philosophy and Theory
- Chapter 1: What is Philosophy of Education?
- Chapter 2: Schools of Thought in Philosophy of Education
- Chapter 3: The Philosophy of Education and Educational Theory
- Chapter 4: The Philosophy of Education and Educational Practice
- Section II: Some Key Historical Figures in the Philosophy of Education
- Chapter 5: Plato and Education
- Chapter 6: Rousseau's ‘Émile’ and Educational Legacy
- Chapter 7: John Dewey and Educational Pragmatism
- Chapter 8: T.S. Eliot, Education and Culture
- Chapter 9: R.S. Peters: Liberal Traditionalist
- Chapter 10: Poststructuralism, Postmodernism and Education
- Chapter 11: Feminism and Education
- Chapter 12: Education and the Catholic Tradition
- Chapter 13: Gazetteer of Educational Thinkers
- Section III: Philosophy of Education and Educational Practice
- Chapter 14: The Professional Status of Teaching
- Chapter 15: Teaching and Pedagogy
- Chapter 16: The Wider Ethical Dimensions of Education and Teaching
- Chapter 17: Moral and Citizenship Education
- Chapter 18: Indoctrination
- Chapter 19: Knowledge and Truth
- Chapter 20: The Value of Knowledge
- Chapter 21: Concepts of Mind
- Chapter 22: Learning
- Chapter 23: Motivation and Learning
- Chapter 24: Transferable Skills
- Chapter 25: Educational Assessment
- Chapter 26: Inclusion and Diversity
- Chapter 27: Equality and Justice
- Chapter 28: Individual and Community Aims in Education
- Chapter 29: Art and Aesthetics in Education
- Chapter 30: Religious Education
- Chapter 31: Physical Education
- Chapter 32: Philosophical Questions about Learning Technologies
- Chapter 33: Personal and Social Education
- Chapter 34: Education and the Environment
Introduction and Editorial Arrangement © Richard Bailey, Robin Barrow, David Carr and Christine McCarthy 2010
Chapter 1 © D.C. Phillips 2010
Chapter 2 © Robin Barrow 2010
Chapter 3 © David Carr 2010
Chapter 4 © Richard Pring 2010
Chapter 5 © Ieuan Williams 2010
Chapter 6 © Jack Martin and Nathan Martin 2010
Chapter 7 © James Scott Johnston 2010
Chapter 8 © Andrew Reid 2010
Chapter 9 © M.A.B. Degenhardt 2010
Chapter 10 © Richard Smith 2010
Chapter 11 © Cris Mayo and Barbara Stengel 2010
Chapter 12 © Kevin Williams 2010
Chapter 13 © Robert Manery 2010
Chapter 14 © Timothy Reagan 2010
Chapter 15 © David T. Hansen and Megan J. Laverty 2010
Chapter 16 © Hugh Sockett 2010
Chapter 17 © J. Mark Halstead 2010
Chapter 18 © Richard Bailey 2010
Chapter 19 © Harvey Siegel 2010
Chapter 20 © Brenda Almond 2010
Chapter 21 © Christine McCarthy 2010
Chapter 22 © Andrew Davis 2010
Chapter 23 © Frederick S. Ellett, Jr. and David P. Erickson 2010
Chapter 24 © Stephen Johnson 2010
Chapter 25 © John Halliday 2010
Chapter 26 © Penny Enslin and Nicki Hedge 2010
Chapter 27 © Claudia Ruitenberg and Daniel Vokey 2010
Chapter 28 © John P. Portelli and Francine Menashy 2010
Chapter 29 © Constantin Koopman 2010
Chapter 30 © James C. Conroy and Robert A. Davis 2010
Chapter 31 © Mike McNamee and Richard Bailey 2010
Chapter 32 © Craig A. Cunningham and Briana L. Allen 2010
Chapter 33 © Graham Haydon 2010
Chapter 34 © Michael Bonnett 2010
First published 2010
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
SAGE Publications Ltd
1 Oliver's Yard
55 City Road
London EC1Y 1SP
SAGE Publications Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, California 91320
SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd
B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area
New Delhi 110 044
SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd
33 Pekin Street #02-01
Far East Square
Library of Congress Control Number: 2009928797
British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Typeset by Glyph International, Bangalore, India
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Biddles Ltd, King's Lynn
Printed on paper from sustainable resources
Briana Allen has been a Technology Instructor and Coordinator for 8 years, working with K-12 students and teachers in the use and integration of technology. She coordinates with colleagues to create integrated technology projects which compliment students’ core curriculum, emphasizing project-and problem-based activities. Her interests include how to seamlessly integrate technology into the classroom, how best to train teachers in the integration of technology and how technology's use in schools changes the roll of educator and student.
Brenda Almond is Emeritus Professor of Moral and Social Philosophy at the University of Hull, where she was for several years Reader in Education and Philosophy. She has lectured widely both in the UK and worldwide and is the author of many articles and books on philosophy and on education. She was Joint Founding Editor of the Journal of Applied Philosophy and is President of the Philosophical Society of England. Her books include Education and the Individual (1981, as Brenda Cohen), Educational Thought: an Introduction (1993), Exploring Ethics: A Traveller's Tale (1998), Exploring Philosophy: the Philosophical Quest (1995) and The Fragmenting Family (Oxford University Press, 2006).
Richard Bailey is a writer and theorist on education and sport. He has been a Professor at Canterbury, Roehampton and most recently Birmingham universities. He has studied Philosophy, Physical Education and Anthropology, and continues to work in these areas, especially with regard to their relevance for learning and the development of expertise. He is the author of Education in the Open Society: Karl Popper and Schooling (Ashgate), editor of The Philosophy of Education: an Introduction (Continuum), and is author/editor of 13 other books on theoretical and practical aspects of schooling and sport. He also edits the 25-volume Continuum Library of Educational Thought.
Robin Barrow is Professor of the Philosophy of Education at Simon Fraser University, Canada, where he was also Dean of Education from 1992 to 2002. Prior to that he was Reader in the Philosophy of Education at the University of Leicester, UK. A past Vice-Chair of the Philosophy of Education Society, GB, and past President of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society, he is the author of some 25 books in the fields of philosophy, education and classics, the most recent of which are Plato (Continuum) and An Introduction to Moral[Page x]Philosophy and Moral Education (Routledge). In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Michael Bonnett is currently Reader in Philosophy of Education at the University of Bath and Senior Research Fellow at the University of London Institute of Education, and was formerly Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Education in the University of Cambridge. He is author of numerous published articles, including several on environmental education and sustainability. His book on environmental concern and education Retrieving Nature. Education for a Post-Humanist Age was published in 2004. His earlier book Children's Thinking (1994) explored the significance of a poetic dimension to human understanding and the process of education.
David Carr is Professor of Philosophy at Education at the University of Edinburgh. He is author of Educating the Virtues (1991), Professionalism and Ethics in Teaching (2000) and Making Sense of Education (2003), as well as of many philosophical and educational papers. He is also editor of Education, Knowledge and Truth (1998), co-editor (with Jan Steutel) of Virtue Ethics and Moral Education (1999), and (with John Haldane) of Spirituality, Philosophy and Education (2003).
James C. Conroy is Professor of Religious and Philosophical Education and Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of numerous publications on religious and moral education, citizenship education, the philosophy of education and the place of literature and the arts in the work of liberal education. He is visiting and adjunct Professor at Fordham University, New York, and previously held visiting Senior Research Fellowships at Australian Catholic University and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is currently President of the Association for Moral Education, Secretary and Treasurer of the Journal of Moral Education Trust, Board Member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, Member of the Teacher Workforce Planning Group for Scotland, and member of the Commissioning Panel AHRC/ESRC Programme on Religion and Society. He occupies officer and editorial board positions on a number of academic associations and learned journals, including EERA, PESGB, Journal of Policy Futures in Education, Ethics and Education, International Journal of Catholic Education. He is the author of the Betwixt and Between: the Liminal Imagination, Education and Democracy (New York: Peter Lang, 2004).
Craig A. Cunningham is Associate Professor in the Integrated Studies in Teaching, Technology, and Inquiry Department at National-Louis University in Chicago, where he teaches courses in technology integration, curriculum design and the philosophy of education. A member of the Philosophy of Education Society (U.S.) and the John Dewey Society, Professor Cunningham is the author (with Marty Billingsley) of Curriculum Webs: Weaving the Web into Teaching and Learning, 2nd edition (Allyn and Bacon, 2006), and has also written about [Page xi]John Dewey's aesthetics, metaphysics and theory of the self as well as the history of character education in America.
Andrew Davis taught in primary schools before lecturing in philosophy of education and mathematics education at Cambridge University before moving to Durham. He has published extensively on the topics of learning and educational assessment. He is currently editing New Philosophies of Learning with Ruth Cigman, to appear as a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Education and as a book published by Wiley-Blackwell.
Robert A. Davis is Professor of Religious and Cultural Education at the University of Glasgow. He has taught, written and broadcast widely on literature, religion, folklore, music, education and the cultural history of childhood. He has held visiting positions at several international institutions, including Ireland, Australia and Sweden. His literary critical work includes the preparation of standard editions of several of the works of Robert Graves and studies of the children's writers Alan Garner and Philip Pullman. His educational work includes examinations of the place of imaginative literature in moral education, the future of education for religious literacy and the history of faith-based schooling. He is co-investigator for the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society project on the effectiveness of Religious Education in British secondary schools and is also co-authoring a new intellectual biography of the nineteenth century educational reformer and philanthropist, Robert Owen. He occupies editorial board positions on several international journals, including the Journal of the Philosophy of Education and the Journal of Policy Futures in Education.
Michael Degenhardt studied economics at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he discovered (too late) that philosophy was more worthwhile. He did his teacher training and taught history for several years in what was then Southern Rhodesia. On returning to England he continued to teach in schools and colleges and began part-time studies in philosophy with Richard Peters. In 1978 he was appointed to lecture in Education at the University of Tasmania. Now retired in Surrey he enjoys reading history of ideas and writing in the area of culture, values and curriculum.
Frederick S. Ellett, Jr was born in Elmira, New York, in 1945. He attended Cornell University where he received a B.S. (Electrical Engineering), 1967; a M.S. (Electrical Engineering), 1970; and a Ph.D. (Philosophy of Education), 1977 (Kenneth A. Strike chaired the Ph.D. Committee). He taught philosophy of education at UCLA's Graduate School of Education from 1976 to 1988, and since 1988 he has been Associate Professor, Philosophy of Education, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. His interests include the conceptual, epistemological and ontological aspects of educational policy and assessment, with special interests in theories of rationality and morality.[Page xii]
Penny Enslin is Professor of Education at the University of Glasgow, where she is Director of the Ed D programme. Until July 2006 she was a Professor in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where she now holds the position of Professor Emeritus. Her research and teaching interests lie in the area of political theory and education, with particular interests in democracy and citizenship education. She has published internationally on deliberative democracy and education, liberalism, gender and feminist theory, nation building, African philosophy of education, and higher education.
David P. Erikson is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Educational Policy in the Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education, at the University of Hawaii at Mãnoa in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has research interests in philosophy of the social sciences, moral and political education, educational policy studies, and comparative/international education. He currently serves as Director of International Education in the College of Education.
John Halliday began his working life as a telecommunications engineer following a degree in Physics and Mathematics. He went on to teach in a number of colleges of further education before obtaining degrees in philosophy and education. Since entering higher education he has published widely in the areas of philosophy of education and teacher education, including five books. He is perhaps best known for his work on the philosophy of vocational education, but currently is writing a new book exploring new perspectives on disadvantage and achievement from an analysis of informal learning.
Mark Halstead is a Research Professor in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield. He has written widely in the field of moral education, including Education in Morality (co-edited with Terence H. McLaughlin, 1999), Values in Education and Education in Values (co-edited with Monica J. Taylor, 1996) and Citizenship and Moral Education (co-authored with Mark Pike, 2006). He has also edited Special Issues of the Journal of Moral Education on Philosophy and Moral Education: the Contribution of John Wilson (2000) and Islamic Values and Moral Education (2007). He has a special interest in Muslim education and multicultural education.
David T. Hansen is Professor and Director of the Program in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include the philosophy and practice of teaching, the criticism of educational values, and cosmopolitanism as an educational mode of being. He has published widely in these fields, including books such as The Call to Teach and Exploring the Moral Heart of Teaching. He has served as President of the John Dewey Society and the Philosophy of Education Society (North America).
Graham Haydon is Reader in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Much of his work has been on moral and [Page xiii]citizenship education in plural societies, including the relationship between Personal and Social Education and Citizenship Education. His publications include The Importance of PSHE: a Philosophical and Policy Perspective on Personal, Social and Health Education (Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain 2005) and Values in Education (Continuum 2006).
Nicki Hedge is the Director of Learning Innovation in the Faculty of Education at the University of Glasgow. She teaches, mainly, on the Doctorate in Education programme in which she runs courses in Advanced Research Methods and on Masters courses in Modern Educational Thought. Originally an applied linguist, and more recently responsible for distance education at the University of Glasgow, her current research is focussed on social justice, with particular attention to knowledge and education as global public goods. Previous nationally and internationally funded projects include work on inclusion, e-learning and distance education, assessment and adult literacy.
Dr. Stephen Johnson lectures in Politics and Ethics on the Social Policy degree course of the University of Warwick, at North Warwickshire college. He has taught in primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges and further and higher education. He has published articles in the Journal Philosophy of Education, the British Journal of Educational Studies and the Journal of Further and Higher Education. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal Further and Higher Education. He is author of Teaching Thinking Skills, impact 8, published in 2001 by the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. He is co-author, with Professor Harvey Siegel, of a forthcoming book on thinking skills. He was Secretary of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain for 10 years.
James Scott Johnston is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Education, Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. His current research interests are pragmatism (John Dewey); pragmatism and continental philosophy in conversation; and modes of inquiry. Dr. Johnston has recently written two books — Inquiry and Education: John Dewey and the Quest for Democracy and Regaining Consciousness: Self-Consciousness and Self-Cultivation from 1781-Present — and he has another book, Deweyan Inquiry: from Educational Theory to Practice, also from SUNY Press. He has recently published articles in Educational Theory, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, and Studies in the Philosophy of Education.
Constantin Koopman is a teacher and researcher at Walden University (USA). After having completed his studies in musicology and philosophy at Utrecht University, he specialized in music education and aesthetic education at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). In the past years, he has also worked at the universities of Auckland and Cologne, and at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. His publications on aesthetics and aesthetic education have appeared in various international journals, including the Journal of Philosophy of Education, [Page xiv]Educational Philosophy and Theory, the Journal of Aesthetic Education and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Megan J. Laverty is Associate Professor in the Philosophy and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the author of Iris Murdoch's Ethics: A Consideration of her Romantic Vision and co-editor of Playing with Ideas: Modern and Contemporary Philosophies of Education. Her research interests include: the history of philosophy of education; moral philosophy and its significance for education; philosophy of dialogue and dialogical pedagogy; and philosophy with children and adolescents in schools.
Christine McCarthy is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, Social Foundations Program at the University of Iowa. Her research has focused on Deweyan conceptions of the nature of knowledge, of mind, and of art. Her current research interests are in the relations of art-making, mind and consciousness.
Mike McNamee is Professor of Applied Ethics in the School of Health Science at Swansea University where he teaches medical ethics. Having completed a PhD in the Philosophy of Physical Education he has pioneered the development of sports ethics as an area of study and research over the last 20 years. He is a former President of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and is Editor of the journal Sport Ethics and Philosophy. His latest book is Sports, Virtues and Vices (Routledge, 2008).
Robert Manery is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum Theory and Implementation program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. His research interests include philosophy of education, hermeneutic theory, moral philosophy, literature and language arts education. He has published a book of poetry entitled It's Not As If It Hasn't Been Said Before (Tsunami Editions, 2001).
Jack Martin is Burnaby Mountain Endowed Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. His research interests are in philosophy and history of psychology, social-developmental psychology, and educational psychology, with particular emphasis on the psychology of selfhood and personhood. Author of over 150 scholarly articles and book chapters, his most recent books include Psychology and the Question of Agency (2003, with Jeff Sugarman and Janice Thompson) and The Psychology of Human Possibility and Constraint (1999, with Jeff Sugarman), both published by SUNY Press. A new book (with Suzanne Kirschner), entitled The Sociocultural Turn in Psychology, will soon be published by Columbia University Press.
Nathan Martin is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at McGill University. His dissertation, ‘Rameau and Rousseau: Harmony and History in the Age of Reason,’ [Page xv]concerns the reception of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Theory of Harmony in Rousseau's musical writings.
Cris Mayo is an associate professor in the Gender and Women's Studies and Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her publications in queer studies and philosophy of education include Disputing the Subject of Sex: Sexuality and Public School Controversies (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004, 2007) as well as articles in Educational Theory, Philosophy of Education, Review of Research in Education, Educational Philosophy and Theory, and Sexuality Research and Social Policy.
Francine Menashy is a Ph.D. candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, in the Philosophy of Education program and collaborative program in Comparative, International and Development Education. Her dissertation focuses on international education policy and privatization of schooling. Previous work has been published in the Journal of Educational Thought and the McGill Journal of Education.
D.C. Phillips is Professor (Emeritus) of Education, and, by courtesy, of Philosophy, at Stanford University. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Education, and a past President of the Philosophy of Education Society of America. He writes on topics in the history of late-nineteenth and twentieth-century thought; recently, he has focused on philosophical issues in educational research, an area that he approaches from the perspective of philosophy of science. He has authored or edited 11 books and about 140 essays in books and journals.
John P. Portelli is Professor, Co-Director of the Centre for Leadership and Diversity, and Associate Chair of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at OISE, University of Toronto. His research and teaching focus on: issues of democratic theory and educational policy, leadership and pedagogy; student engagement and the curriculum of life; analysis and critique of neo-liberalism in education. He has published eight books (including two collections of poetry). He is a former editor of Paiduesis: The Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society.
Richard Pring is presently Lead Director of the Nuffield Review of 14–19 Education and Training for England and Wales, a £1 million research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Previously, from 1989 to 2003, he was Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Oxford. His most recent book is ‘John Dewey: Philosopher of Education for the 21st Century?’ (Continuum).
Timothy Reagan has served on the faculties of Gallaudet University, the University of Connecticut, Roger Williams University, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is currently Professor of Educational [Page xvi]Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. His research interests are focused primarily on issues of language and culture in education. His latest book is Language Matters, published by International Age Publishers (2009).
Andrew Reid studied philosophy at the University of Glasgow and was, until his retirement, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught mainly in the area of Philosophy of Education. He has published in the Journal of Philosophy of Education and elsewhere on issues and problems concerning the nature and aims of education. His interest in T.S. Eliot as an educational and cultural thinker is part of a wider concern to defend a traditional view of education, teaching and learning against its detractors.
Claudia Ruitenberg is Assistant Professor, Philosophy of Education, in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. She has published in the Journal of Philosophy of Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education and the Philosophy of Education yearbooks. Current research interests include poststructuralist perspectives on hate speech and censorship in education, and radical democratic perspectives on citizenship and political education. She teaches educational theories, philosophical methods and critical thinking.
Harvey Siegel is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami. His areas of specialization include epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of education. He is the author of Relativism Refuted: A Critique of Contemporary Epistemological Relativism (Springer 1987), Educating Reason: Rationality, Critical Thinking, and Education (Routledge 1988), and Rationality Redeemed?: Further Dialogues on an Educational Ideal (Routledge 1997). He is editor of (among other things) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education (Oxford 2009).
Richard Smith is Professor of Education at the University of Durham, UK, where he was for many years Director of the Combined Degrees in Arts and Social Sciences. He is Editor of the new journal Ethics and Education and Associate Editor of the Journal of Philosophy of Education. His most recent authored book is (with Paul Smeyers and Paul Standish) The Therapy of Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). His principal research interests are in the philosophy of education and the philosophy of social science.
Hugh Sockett is a Professor of Education in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University. His books include The Moral Base for Teacher Professionalism (1993), Transforming Teacher Education (with Diane Wood and Pamela LePage, 2005), Educational Reconciliation (with Pamela LePage, 2002), and Teacher Dispositions (2006: as editor). He is currently working on a book entitled Knowledge and Virtue in Teaching, which builds on his article ‘Dispositions as virtues: the complexity of the construct’, in the Journal of Teacher Education.[Page xvii]
Barbara Stengel is a Professor of Educational Foundations, Philosophy and Women's Studies at Millersville University. She brings a feminist perspective and a gender analysis to issues in teacher education and knowledge, the moral dimensions of teaching and learning, Dewey studies and the play of emotion in education.
Daniel Vokey is Associate Professor, Philosophy of Education, in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. His current research interests include comparing perspectives on the development of practical wisdom from both Western and Eastern traditions. A recent publication by Daniel in this area is ‘Hearing, contemplating, meditating: in search of the transformative integration of heart and mind,’ in C. Eppert and H. Wang, (eds), Cross-cultural Studies in Curriculum: Eastern Thought, Educational Insights. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 287–312.
Ieuan Williams lectures in philosophy at Swansea University. His main teaching and research interests have been in the philosophy of mind and language. In recent years he has developed a special interest in Plato's philosophy and its enduring value in relation to contemporary moral and political issues. He has recently published articles on Plato and Media Theory and on Plato, Citizenship and Political Justice in Contemporary Society. He is currently writing an updated version of Richard Crossman's 1938 classic Plato Today.
Kevin Williams is Senior Lecturer in Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, and is a former president of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland. His recent books include Education and the Voice of Michael Oakeshott (2007), Faith and the Nation: Religion, Culture and Schooling in Ireland (2005) and Why Teach Foreign Languages in Schools? A Philosophical Response to Curriculum Policy (2000).
The SAGE Handbook of the Philosophy of Education is designed primarily to be useful to students studying the philosophy of education in the context of the study of educational foundations or theory. It is also designed to be of use to practising teachers who wish to gain easy access to current philosophical thinking on particular contemporary educational issues, and to educationalists of all types who want a guide to questions relating to the nature, the history, and the current state of the art of philosophy of education.
We have sought to balance the handbook in three particular ways. First, we have sought to give fair weight to different styles of philosophy or modes of philosophizing about education. Secondly, we have tried to give due recognition to both past and present educational philosophizing. Thirdly, we have endeavoured to give even-handed attention both to the general ‘perennial’ issues in educational philosophy and to a set of more narrowly focused issues of contemporary educational concern.
To this end, we have dedicated Section 1 specifically to addressing different conceptions of philosophy of education, and to exploring its appropriate concerns and methodologies. This section also examines the vexed relationship of educational philosophy to other fields of educational theory, and to the problems and circumstances of educational practice.
Section 2 is devoted to certain thinkers who, in our judgement, are either especially significant in the development of the discipline and its concerns, such as Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Dewey, or are influential in current philosophical discussions, such as the phenomenologists and the post-structuralists. Here, we have also gathered matter pertaining more generally to the history of the philosophy of education. It hardly needs saying that the problem of selection is great. There are many different criteria we might have adopted and differences of opinion as to who most obviously satisfies them. We have not attempted to come up with a list simply of those whom we think most worthy of study. Instead, we have focused on those figures who may most obviously be said to have produced, through something recognizable as philosophical reasoning, a coherent overall view of education and its practices. In the various chapters we have focused either on an individual or on a cluster of individuals (sometimes over a span of time) who can clearly be identified as representing some kind of school of thought. In each case, in order to highlight continuities and to help the reader to see connections, developments and patterns and to find their way through the [Page xix]literature, the text refers to ongoing influences and relationships. At the end of this section, there is a concise biographical dictionary of educational thinkers that provides brief reference to a group of individuals, not otherwise treated in this volume, who have nonetheless made some important or significant contribution to educational thought, indicating their focus and where to locate it in their works.
Section 3 is dedicated to contemporary philosophical thought on education; this body of thought provides the basis and reference point for a philosophical treatment of certain particular contemporary problems. Here we have attempted to address a common criticism of earlier handbooks (and textbooks) on philosophy of education, namely that they have given insufficient attention to the needs and interests of non-philosophical colleagues. We believe it is vitally important to include discussions of topics that, though not exclusively, nor even primarily, philosophical, nonetheless do raise philosophical issues. It will become apparent that numerous discussions of educational concerns have a philosophical character. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any educational issue that is not related to assumptions about knowledge or values, or which would not benefit from critical consideration of key concepts. This final section seeks to explore the contribution that philosophy can make to educational practice; it seeks to show that parents, teachers and policy-makers, just as much as academics, can benefit from the philosophy of education. Thus our aim is, on the one hand, to accommodate the desire for a handbook inclusive enough to bring together both contemporary and traditional reflections on the nature of education, and to draw on the relevant work of both philosophers and educational theorists. We have tried, on the other hand, to fulfil the hope that this broad coverage will go beyond a superficial survey of the field, and that it will offer insightful and relatively detailed examinations of certain central subjects. For convenience, the chapters in this section are arranged into four groups: ‘Teaching and general education’; ‘Knowledge, learning and curriculum’; ‘Social principles in education’; and ‘Aspects of education’.
Our hope is that the reader of this handbook will realize, through philosophically informed discussion of a range of educational thinkers and topics, the relevance of philosophical enquiry for all of those studying education. Indeed, if the key question for sound educational policy making and practice is, as has often been supposed, ‘What kind of a curriculum would ensure a better future and quality of life in moral and spiritual as well as material and economic terms for generations to come?’, we urgently need to bring to our deliberations a philosophical clarity, as well as a depth of thought and argument, that is too often missing from educational debate. However, we would be disappointed if the reader put down this handbook with the impression that philosophy was only, or even mainly, handmaiden to other disciplines or sciences associated with educational thinking and practice. Philosophy (from the Greek for the love of knowledge or wisdom) requires thinkers to think for themselves. This is why Immanuel Kant asserted that it is not possible to learn [Page xx]philosophy; it is only possible to learnhow to philosophize. This does not mean that the philosopher ought to live a life of solitary contemplation, but it does mean that the philosopher is compelled to think for him or herself. This is perhaps why philosophical conversations often seem characterized by ambiguity and perplexity. Important questions are rarely resolved with simple answers unless, of course, we choose to borrow uncritically the dogmas and doctrines of others. For Bertrand Russell, the person who does decide to live so uncritically ‘goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the cooperation or consent of his deliberate reason’. So, we suggest, philosophy is fundamental. The perennial debates of philosophers who have written about education have an intrinsic interest and value, but they also have considerable utility.