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Introduction To Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology of Education. Created by Jeff Strauss MA Educational Foundations. Branches of Study. Philosophical Theories of Human Existence: Pre-Socratic, Medieval, Modern, 19 th and 20 th Century

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introduction to philosophy psychology and sociology of education

Introduction To Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology of Education

Created by Jeff Strauss

MA Educational Foundations

branches of study
Branches of Study
  • Philosophical Theories of Human Existence: Pre-Socratic, Medieval, Modern, 19th and 20th Century
  • Theories of Human Behavior and Development: Biological, Religious, Psychological, Behavioral, Socio-cultural
  • Historical Eras: Ancient, Dark Ages, Enlightenment, Age of Reason, Modernism, Industrial, Information
  • Sociological Theories of Society and Cultures: Structuralism, Conflict Theory, Marxism, Critical Theory, Post-Modernism

From the earliest beginnings of recorded history it has involved discussions and debates not just about truth, but what are our methods of inquiry into truth. So one of the differences between philosophy and straightforward scientific inquiry is that in philosophy the issue isn’t merely about what the truth is, but how we can know what the truth is. A physicist and biologistknow things, but the philosopher asks, How do they know?

It is for that reason that philosophy is often described as a ‘second-order’ activity: thinking about thinking, knowing about knowing.

thales 624 546 b c e

Thales (624-546 B.C.E)

“Everything is made of water”

There is an underlying reality beyond appearances that is radically different from things as they appear to us through our senses

25 centuries since philosophy and science have altered only 1 word
25 Centuries Since Philosophy and Science Have altered only 1 word
  • Everything is made of water
  • Everything is made of air
  • Everything is made of the indeterminate boundless
  • Everything is made of fire
  • Everything is made of numbers
  • Everything is made of atoms
  • Everything is made of quarks

The ancient Greeks as a starting point for western civilizations philosophical traditions




Los Tres Amigos

socrates 470 to 399 b c e
Socrates (470 to 399 B.C.E)
  • “The unexamined life is not worth living”
  • This statement sets the stage for a revolutionary progression of Western thinking. That the individual is responsible to answer questions such as What meaning do I want to give my life? How should I live? What really matters? What is truth and how can I know it.
  • Intrinsic Value
plato and the allegory of the cave
Plato and the Allegory of the Cave
  • Plato viewed the world of appearances as an illusion
  • True knowledge (ideas) could not be sought through the senses
  • Wisdom requires us to see beyond sense experience and to learn about the underlying first principles and causes of things.
aristotle 384 322 b c e
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.)
  • Aristotle collapsed the physical world of matter (the realm of appearances) and the world of ideas to explain change.
  • He saw the soul as not independent of the physical body
  • He invented the syllogism (deductive logic) as well as inductive logic
decent into the darkness
Decent into The Darkness
  • Marcus Aurelius (121-180) 14th Emperor of Rome. He regarded Christians as the most subversive and dangerous element within the Roman Empire and warned that if Christians were allowed to corrupt the intellect and souls of the citizens of Rome, the Empire would fall
  • They would have been wise to heed his warnings
the rise of christianity
The Rise of Christianity

In the third century the philosophical traditions from Thales to Aurelius ground to a screeching halt. To the enlightened citizens at the height of the Roman Empire, with the Hellenic philosophical genius behind them and the emerging political, social and cultural advances before them, it must have seemed as if some great, cosmic awakening was about to happen, as if the next level of enlightenment within human consciousness was just around the corner. What they got instead was the Dark Ages: the burning of books, the closing of the philosophy schools, the collapse of the Roman Empire.

- Daniel Kolack “From the Pre-Socratic to the Present”

medieval philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
  • By 3rd century C.E., Roman Empire is unwinding
  • Because they were no longer persecuted the Christians were now winning more converts
  • Catholic philosophy developed from the view of Plato, the Stoics and Neo-Platonists dominated Western thought for a 1000 years
  • Augustine, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas
  • Ockham, Bacon, Martin Luther, Copernicus
martin luther the reformation
Martin Luther & The Reformation
  • Martin Luther dealt the symbolic blow that began the Reformation when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. That document contained an attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials.
  • Translation of the Bible into German from the Latin broke Rome’s stranglehold on the “Word”

The Renaissance

The Age of Modern Philosophy

  • Descartes: “I think therefore I am”
  • Kant: The Transcendental Idealist
  • Hegel: The Absolute Idealist
rene descartes
Rene Descartes
  • Cogito Ergo Sum
  • Cartesian geometry
  • Methodological Skepticism
  • Differentiated the “handing down of knowledge” with “truth”
immanuel kant
Immanuel Kant
  • Not “how does an object affect the mind” but “how does the mind affect an object?”
  • Transcendentalism: Space and time are not part of the noumenal world, but constructs of the mind
  • Much as Aristotle collapsed the physical world of matter (the realm of appearances) and the world of ideas to explain change. Hegel paved the way for not transcending beyond the phenomenal world or inwardly to the mental faculties (empirical and the rational) but to break through logical categories themselves.
the implications
The Implications
  • From Kant to Hegel there was an enlightenment
  • This paved the way for existentialism in which the individual is primary and existence is understood in individualistic terms
  • So now Comte’s positivism is based in part on the notion that “social” verification is a necessary condition for truth and meaning.
auguste comte the birth of positivism the 3 conditions of intellectual development
Auguste Comte The birth of Positivism The 3 conditions of intellectual development
  • Primitive stage: human beings rely on the power of supernatural beings existing beyond the natural world. So explanations are given in supernatural terms
  • Metaphysical stage: explanation is ultimately theological and supernatural entities are replaced with abstract notions.
  • Positive stage: the mind is freed by reason and observation from its vain egotistical search for “Absolute Notions”
the players and theories
The Players and Theories
  • Functionalism: Weber, Durkheim
  • Conflict Theory: Marx, Engle
  • Critical Theory: Frankfurt School
  • Semiotics: Pierce, Saussure
  • Pragmatism: William James, John Dewey
  • Post Modernism: Foucault, Lyotard
  • In explaining the basis of social order in societies the starting point for Functionalists is to look at wholesocieties and not the individual
  • The starting point of all Functionalism is that all societies have certain basic needs
  • Emile Durkheim draws an analogy between the way a biological organism works and society. The various organs of a living thing work together in order to maintain a healthy whole in much the same way that various institutions in society work together to produce social order.
  • Functionalists believe that the basis of an orderly society is the existence of a central value system that imposes common values on all its members.
max weber
  • Bureaucratic coordination of human action, Weber believed, is the distinctive mark of modern social structures.
  • Hierarchy of authority 
  • Impersonality 
  • Written rules of conduct 
  • Promotion based on achievement 
  • Specialized division of labor 
  • Efficiency 
conflict theory karl marx
Conflict Theory & Karl Marx
  • The following are four primary assumptions of modern conflict theory
  • Competition
  • Structural inequality
  • Revolution
  • War.
frankfurt school
Frankfurt School
  • They were concerned to develop critical theory from the works of Karl Marx, whilst radically revising many Marxian ideas. They greatly developed the critique of the mass media in mass society (what they referred to as the culture industry) and their work is therefore at the root of much Marxian criticism of the mass media. As they saw it, the culture industry played a highly manipulative role in modern society and served to control or subvert oppositional consciousness, thus removing any threat to the dominant capitalist class. The possibility of revolutionary transformation of society was seen by them as being effectively excluded by a dominant bureaucracy which was supported by the culture industry.
critical theory
critical theory
  • Developing from the work of the Frankfurt School theorists, critical theory has always been multidisciplinary (perhaps more accurately 'supradisciplinary'), drawing on sociology, literary criticism, philosophy, psychology, art criticism, political science and many other fields. Central to critical theory is an emancipatory imperative directed towards the abolition of social injustice and focused principally on a critique of ideology, showing how repressive interests underlie the ostensibly neutral formulations of science, politics, economics, culture in general

In philosophy, where the term is extensively used, it applies to movements that include post-structuralism, deconstruction, multiculturalism, gender studies and literary theory, sometimes called simply "theory". It emerged beginning in the 1950's as a critique of doctrines such as positivism and emphasizes the importance of power relationships, personalization and discourse in the "construction" of truth and world views.














3 major theories of development
3 Major Theories of Development
  • Psychoanalytic Theories: Stress the importance of children’s unconscious thoughts. It is heavily colored by emotion and influenced by parents as to the child’s development
  • Cognitive Theories: Stress children’s conscious thoughts.
  • Behavioral Theories: Stress the effects of the environment on the organism to adapt, learn and change
  • DefinitionBehaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior.
  • DefinitionConstructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences.
freud sigmund 1856 1939
Freud, Sigmund - (1856-1939)
  • Responsible for developing theories central to psychoanalysis, the psychology of human sexuality, and dream interpretation. His major contribution was in pointing to connections between aberrant behavior and the unconscious.
  • The Id, Ego and Superego
lev vygotsky social development theory
Lev Vygotsky: Social Development Theory
  • The major theme of Vygotsky's theoretical framework is that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of cognition. Vygotsky (1978) states: "Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals."
howard gardner multiple intelligences
Howard Gardner:Multiple Intelligences
  • DefinitionThis theory of human intelligence, developed by psychologist, suggests there are at least seven ways that people have of perceiving and understanding the world. Gardner labels each of these ways a distinct "intelligence"--in other words, a set of skills allowing individuals to find and resolve genuine problems they face.
jean piaget genetic epistemology
Jean Piaget: Genetic Epistemology
  • The concept of cognitive structure is central to his theory (Schemas). There are four primary cognitive structures (i.e., development stages) according to Piaget: sensorimotor, preoperations, concrete operations, and formal operations. In the sensorimotor stage (0-2 years), intelligence takes the form of motor actions. Intelligence in the preoperational period (3-7 years) is intuitive in nature. The cognitive structure during the concrete operational stage (8-11 years) is logical but depends upon concrete referents. In the final stage of formal operations (12-15 years), thinking involves abstractions.