Philosophy 51 (196):159-176 (1976)

It is commonly supposed that the philosophy of education is not a reputable area of concern for a philosopher. I have never heard a coherent, sustained and successful case made for this view. Only vague remarks about ‘autonomy’ and narrowly protectionist views of philosophy are ventured. So I shall not discuss the matter further. I shall simply be content to side with Plato, Aristotle, Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill and Dewey, who thought that educational issues fell within the province of philosophy. Kant was so concerned with education that he interrupted his work on the Critique of Pure Reason in order to support Basedow's experimental school, the Philanthropin, and the educational reforms which it intended to institute. Kant says ‘… the greatest and most difficult problem to which man can devote himself is the problem of education.’ But if those who hold that the philosophy of education is unimportant, or even disreputable, have come to that view after examining a good deal of what is currently being said in this field, then their adverse reaction is not hard to understand, because a good deal of contemporary work here is clearly inadequate. I hope to show that the contemporary perspective is too narrow, and to advocate a return to a more traditional view of the philosophy of education in the hope that the subject may once again be given the importance which was formerly attributed to it
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100020581
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