Relationship Between Philosophy and Education

The relationship between Philosophy and Education appears deeper than the ocean. From the outset, just when formal education had been spreading its tentacles across borders of the world. The few primordial courses or subjects that were popular then were Philosophy, Mathematics, and Language. Philosophy itself can be likened to the cradle from which education sprouts. It constructs the several principles by which other layers of courses are guided.

History of Education in the World

In many ways, the history of education is also the history of reform movements and ideologies. At the very least since Plato’s Politeia, “education” has been considered the catalyst or source of social, cultural, and personal transformation. Education was seen as the voice of mission in the late Roman Empire and early Christian eras, and as a specific power behind heretical movements during the Middle Ages.

Education was considered the source of “inner” belief and individual salvation following the Reformation. All of these reasons were combined by the reform movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, which strengthened them as oppositional forces to the educational paradigm established by the state in the previous century.

There are three main tendencies in modern reform movements. Reform movements exist for society, living forms, and educational institutions. The majority of movements have groups of people who support their unique beliefs and charismatic leaders. Only a small number of “new education” projects, like the Rudolf Steiner schools, succeeded where others failed.

The school system, on the other hand, adopted some aspects of new education but did not change radically. The critique of ‘bureaucratic’ schools returned with the neoliberal economy which renewed the individualistic alternatives to compulsory education, i.e., the backbone of the state system of schooling.

The Concepts of Education and Philosophy

Education is a growing science and philosophy is the cornerstone of the foundation of education. While the goal of philosophy is to explain the baffling mysteries of universe, the place of man in the universe and variegated problems created out of his wisdom and folly, the chief means of philosophy is education which has been correctly described as the dynamic side of philosophy. Education is a practical activity of philosophical thought. Every educational practice is illumined with the backdrop of philosophy.

Education enriches life by increasing the power and inclination to is not only a process of development but also an instrument of developing the innate powers of an individual which has the capacity to develop them and make them manifest. Education is, in fact, apprenticeship of life.

Education is the dynamic side of philosophy and is used as a powerful device by the philosophers who hold a vital belief to convert others into their point of view. Education is essentially a philosophical enterprise. Philosophizing is the main business of philosophy. Therefore, there is a need for a philosophy of education.

Relationship Between Philosophy and Education

Philosophy and education are closely inter-related. Education is the application of philosophy or philosophy of education is applied philosophy. It is the application of philosophy to the study of the problems of education that is known as philosophy of education. In fact, philosophy is the groundwork or foundation out of which comes the objectives of education.

Philosophy and education walk hand in hand. In this relationship, philosophy and education are reconstructive; they give to and take from each other in ebb and flow of thought and action; they are means to one another, and ends; they are process and product.

Philosophy and Methods of Teaching

Method is a means by which a contact is developed between the students and the subject matter. The choice of methods of teaching depends depends on the philosophy of education accordingly the naturalist lay emphasis on motivation, direct experiences and on maintaining interest of the child. The idealist believe in lecture and discussion method. Their sole concern is to create suitable environment in order to influence the development of an individual. Pragmatists recommend socialized techniques, projects and problem solving methods and other activities as the teaching techniques.

Philosophy and the Concept of Discipline

Philosophy reflects the philosophy of life and the philosophical prepossessions or particular ideologies. A belief prevalent in the past like, spare the rod and spoil the child signifies a philosophy behind it. Naturalist believes in the concept of discipline by natural consequences. Idealist favor inner discipline, which is the discipline of mind or intellect. Pragmatist stress free discipline and self- discipline, inner or outer discipline.

Philosophy and Teacher

In the process of education, teacher is the pivotal point, the heart of the matter. Education takes place through the interaction between the teacher and the taught. the teacher influences the personality of the child and instills
in him a thoughtful awakening, a new life and beliefs. To be a successful teacher it is essential for him to know the philosophy of education and its related ingredients.

Different philosophies of education have prescribed the role of a teacher in the light of their principles. Idealism assigns a very important role to a teacher who has to inspire and influence his pupils and mold them to become spiritual beings. Naturalism regards teacher as the stage manager who has to provide educational environment. Pragmatism define role of a teacher as a friend, a guide and a philosopher.

Philosophy and Textbook

Textbook is an important teaching learning material, it must reflect the prevailing values in life fixed by should be in accordance with the prevailing accepted social ideals, norms and must be written in accordance with the philosophy of the time, cultural, social and political background of a society or nation.

List of Educators Who Were Also Philosophers

These individuals made significant contributions to both philosophy and educational theory. Below are some notable educators who can also be called philosophers:

  • Socrates

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher, known for his contributions to ethics and epistemology. By the side, even as popularly known as he was, he was also identified as a teacher with so many students who had learnt under his tutelage.

  • Plato

Plato was a student of Socrates. He went on to found the Academy in Athens. One of the most popular modes of his writing style is his use of dialogues where he often explores various philosophical topics through conversations, often featuring Socrates as a central character. His teachings cover a wide range of subjects, including ethics, politics, metaphysics, epistemology, and education. Some of his most famous works include “The Republic,” “The Symposium,” “Phaedo,” and “The Apology.”

  • Aristotle

In turn, Aristotle was a student of Plato and tutor to Alexander the Great. He founded the Lyceum in Athens. Aristotle’s extensive body of work and his methodical approach to studying the natural world and human experience have made him one of the most influential philosophers and teachers in Western history. His ideas have shaped various fields of knowledge and continue to be foundational in contemporary philosophy and science.

  • Confucius

Confucius is an ancient Chinese teacher, philosopher, and political theorist. Confucius was a passionate advocate for education and believed it was essential for personal development and moral integrity. He taught that education should be accessible to all, regardless of social class, and emphasized the importance of continuous self-improvement and lifelong learning.

His teachings stress the importance of filial piety (respect for one’s parents and ancestors), humaneness (ren), righteousness (yi), and proper behavior (li). He believed that these virtues are essential for creating a harmonious society.

  • John Dewey

John Dewey is an American philosopher and educator. He’s also a prominent advocate of pragmatism and progressive education across the western corridors of learning.

Dewey emphasized the importance of experiential learning, where students engage in hands-on activities and real-world problem-solving, rather than passive absorption of information.

  • John Locke

John Locke is an English philosopher, whose thoughts on empiricism influenced modern education theory. Locke, who is frequently referred to as the “Father of Liberalism,” made significant contributions to the development of democratic theory, epistemology, and education. His theories also served as a foundation for contemporary political philosophy.

He emphasized the importance of practical learning and moral education, advocating for a child-centered approach that focuses on developing a child’s character and reasoning abilities. He believed that education should be tailored to the individual needs and interests of the child.

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau is a philosopher and writer whose work influenced the Enlightenment and modern educational theory. Being a very popular educator and philosopher, Rousseau’s legacy is vast, affecting fields as diverse as education, politics, philosophy, and literature. His call for a return to simpler, more authentic ways of living continues to resonate with modern readers and thinkers.

Other philosophers who were active educators in their respective eras are listed below for your perusal:

  • Paulo Freire – Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate for critical pedagogy.
  • Maria Montessori – Italian physician and educator, known for the Montessori method of education.
  • Hannah Arendt – Political theorist and philosopher, who wrote extensively on education.
  • Simone de Beauvoir – French existentialist philosopher and writer, known for her work on feminism and education.
  • Immanuel Kant – German philosopher whose work laid the groundwork for modern philosophy, also wrote on education.
  • Jean Piaget – Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development and education.
  • Friedrich Froebel – German educator, founder of the kindergarten movement.

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