Philosophy of Education • Essential Questions: • What can be known? • What is the good life? • What is the nature of the learner? • What is the nature of the subject matter? • What is the nature of the learning process
The value of philosophy • Brings new interpretation and syntheses as well as analyzing, refining, modifying existing concepts and procedures • Acts as a clearinghouse for analyzing and clarifying ideas and problems • Offers a source of ethical guidance • Induces habits of mind like tolerance, impartiality, and suspension of judgment
Philosophy • Love of wisdom , the quest for knowledge • Philosophers often concerned with such things as power, provocation, personality offering ideas to people caught up in the whirlwinds of social crisis, ideological arguments • Philosophers of education concerned with questions of schools and society
185 1 My approach to life is… • Live for today, tomorrow we die. • Reach for the stars. • Expect little and you won’t be disappointed. • It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.
Metaphysics • Greek word – “what is the nature of reality?” • What is real – “real nature” or “ideas?” • Is reality absolute and unchanging? • Is reality ever changing and evolving? • Some of our understandings are a priori • Some of our understandings are a posteriori
I believe that the world (reality) is… • Changeless, eternal, and absolute • Evolving, dynamic and unstable
Branches of Philosophy • Metaphysics…what is the nature of reality • For Schools: What is worth Knowing? • Epistemology…what can be known and what is the nature of what is known • For Schools: What is Learning? What is good teaching? • Axiology…ethics and aesthetics: the good, the true and the beautiful • For Schools: What is the role of the school in society? • Logic…principles of right reasoning: induction and deduction • For Schools: What is good thinking? • Politics…what is just? • What is the role of school in society?
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle • Socrates (470-399B.C.E.) philosophy was a way of life to Socrates Socratic dialogue, dialectic method of questions and answers…what makes humans sin is the lack of knowledge • Plato (427-347B.C.E.) founder of the Academy The Republic outlines a plan for a perfect society ruled by the philosopher king, knowledge consistent with temperance and justice…for women as well as men • Aristotle (384-322B.C.E.) founded the Lyceum, the first person to classify knowledge by dividing and subdividing, developed syllogistic, deductive logic
Idealism • Roots in ancient Greece…. • Reality lies in the mind…. • Deductive Reasoning…our power to reason clearly from general principles.
The opposite of Idealism is… • Nihilism – the absolute belief that no meaning or ideals or understanding can be found by human beings. • Note: Teenagers often ‘flirt’ with varieties of nihilism.
Plato • From text, The Republic. Plato recounts the teaching and dialogues of Socrates. • Socratic Dialogue. • “The Allegory of the Cave.”
Realism • Reality can be found in the world available to the senses. • A sensible, orderly functioning. • Empiricism • Roots in Aristotle …the ‘forms.’ • Enlightenment Values • Empiricism– Francis Bacon • Tabula Rasa– John Locke
Aristotle • Focuses philosophical attention on the ‘real world.’ • Perception…the senses. • Categories • Logical Propositions.
185 112 All fish can swim. This is a fish. Therefore…. • This is a Platonic dialectic • This is Socratic questioning • This is Aristotelian logic (a syllogism) • This is metaphysics
Existentialism • What is it like to be an individual living in the world? • What we have is existence…nothing else. • Life characterized by absurdity and imminence of death. • Passionate encounter with the problems of life and the inevitability of death • Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Buber, Simone de Beauvoir • Important decisions with limited knowledge
For me, life is …. • A trial to be endured • A wonderful gift from the creator • Survival of the fittest • Without any particular meaning
Educational Philosophies • Perennialism…there are absolute truths and standards…related to idealism, experiences are a mental representation rather than a representation of the world, classical humanism refers to the Greek philosophers dedicated to discovering reason and truth for humankind • Essentialism…preserve the basic elements of human culture and transmit them to the young
Philosophies of Education • Perennialism…stresses intellectual attainment and the search for truth • Idealism…all material things are explainable • Realism…propositions are true only if they correspond with known facts • Pragmatism…search for things that work • Reconstructionism…seeks to reconstruct society through education
Philosophies of Education • Existentialism…importance of the individual, subjectivity, inner nature • Postmodernism…de-centers the subject
Postmodernism • Roots in 1950s world of art • Themes including truth, language and its relation to thought, human nature and the self, the Other • “What kind of power is embedded in educational issues, problems, and traditions?” • Michel Foucault, Cleo Cherryholmes
“This then is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well….True generosity lies in striving so that these hands whether of individuals or of whole peoples– need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become human hands which work, and working, transform the world.” Paulo Freire: Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)
Indian Philosophy • Karma…what a person does influences what will happen to that person in the future • Study, meditation, yoga can lead one to transcend cares and suffering • Buddha…Siddhartha Gautama (6th century B.C.E.)…all suffering is based on an inability to discern what is real and what is fictitious • Gandhi (1869-1948) nonviolence toward living things Satyagraha…holding fast to the truth
Far Eastern Philosophy • 21st century technology, global commerce, and population demographics demand that we know something of Eastern philosophy • Confucianism…concerned with ethics and morality (foundation of Chinese civilization) five key relationships: ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, friend and friend • Confucius (Kung Fu-tzu, 551-479B.C.E.)those most capable, should govern…moral and ethical men make the best rulers, principle of li…courtesy and ceremony • Confucianism…a language of morals and laws • Taoism…oneness with nature, noninterference
Michel Foucault • “Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.” • “The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where he has his role as citizen to play).”