Philosophy is vital to the study of education, and a sound knowledge of different philosophical perspectives leads to a deeper engagement with the choices and commitments you make within your educational practice. This introductory text provides a core understanding of often difficult philosophical concepts. By introducing key thinkers in the context of wider themes and frameworks, it creates meaningful connections between theories and links them to different aspects of, and perspectives on, education. Accessibly written, Education and Philosophy carefully analyses the common assumptions and conflicted history of education, provoking questioning about its nature and purposes. Thinking critically about education in this way will give students on undergraduate Education Studies degrees, initial teacher education and Masters-level courses a fuller command of their own role and practice.

Enlightenment and Modernity: Descartes and Locke

Enlightenment and Modernity: Descartes and Locke

And new philosophy calls all in doubt,

The element of fire is quite put out,

The sun is lost, and th’earth, and no man’s wit

Can well direct him where to look for it.

Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone

(John Donne, 1612)

The Enlightenment, enlightenment and modernity - a clarification

The terms enlightenment and modernity are often used interchangeably. The two terms are indeed interrelated and cover similar semantic fields. However, their casual identification can obscure, or indeed efface, points of distinctively different cultural and historical signification. We therefore open this chapter with brief explanations of what we mean when we use these terms here and in subsequent chapters.

The Enlightenment is a retrospectively defined period in the history ...

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