Educational Philosophy and Theory 46 (11):1-14 (2014)

Philosophy and schools, children and dynamite, elephants and postage stamps: each has a place, but not necessarily in any natural combination with the other. Whether schools and philosophy belong together depends largely on what we mean by both. To the extent that schools are instruments of government regulation and a mechanism for production of economic subjectivity, philosophy might be welcome as an ancillary technique for enhancing problem-solving skills or helping students to think more logically. If, on the other hand, teachers are concerned to promote education as the development of independent thought beyond the realm of instrumental utility, then philosophy is a vital, and potentially critical, engagement with power, with the way schools function, and more generally with society and its government. With reference to some recent policy moves in education, this article argues that the focus on the economic productivity of education is intensifying, and that as educational institutions become more heavily regulated and monitored, there is little provision for, or toleration of, any form of structural criticism, philosophical or otherwise. The conclusion is that philosophy may have an explicit place within the existing school programmes, but that any philosophy which provides a basis for fundamental change in our patterns and expectations of schooling is likely to be undermined. Commitment to critical philosophy becomes, then, a surreptitious activity on the part of individual teachers, operating outside the official curriculum and frustrated by increasing surveillance and demands for accountability.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2013.771449
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Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Alvin I. Goldman - 1979 - Philosophical Review 90 (3):424-429.

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