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The Symposium: A Philosophers Guide To Love Essay

(4) « The large literature concerned with economic methodology is of uneven quality, and there is striking disparity between the quality of the economic contributions and of the methodological reflections of major economists. (Essays on philosophy and economic methodology / Daniel M. Hausman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, p.230)

Undergraduate students today, not unlike the characters in Plato's dialogues, are often self-absorbed, arrogantly opinionated, and intellectually lazy. Followers of Socrates recognize that one of the main functions of philosophical education is what I call "the unfixation of belief," with apologies to C.S. Peirce. In Peirce's well-known essay, "The Fixation of Belief," he defends the method of scientific inquiry as opposed to the alternative ways of forming beliefs — tenacity, authority, and a priori thought. For philosophy teachers the challenge is not so much to improve students' methods of arriving at their opinions as to get them to loosen their intellectual grip on the opinions they have fixed upon so that they can see other points of view as legitimate.

There is a large—and ever expanding—number of worksdesigned to give guidance to the novice setting out to explore thedomain of philosophy of education; most if not all of the academicpublishing houses have at least one representative of this genre ontheir list, and the titles are mostly variants of the followingarchetypes: The History and Philosophy of Education, ThePhilosophical Foundations of Education, Philosophers onEducation, Three Thousand Years of Educational Wisdom,A Guide to the Philosophy of Education, and Readings inPhilosophy of Education. The overall picture that emerges fromeven a sampling of this collective is not pretty; the field lacksintellectual cohesion, and (from the perspective taken in this essay)there is a widespread problem concerning the rigor of the work and thedepth of scholarship—although undoubtedly there are islands,but not continents, of competent philosophical discussion of difficultand socially important issues of the kind listed earlier. On thepositive side—the obverse of the lack of cohesion—thereis, in the field as a whole, a degree of adventurousness in the form ofopenness to ideas and radical approaches, a trait that is sometimeslacking in other academic fields.

Challenge your students with these essay topics on philosophy and philosophers

Third, there are a number of educational theorists and researcherswhose field of activity is not philosophy but (forexample) human development or learning theory, who intheir technical work and sometimes in their non-technical books andreflective essays explicitly raise philosophical issues or adoptphilosophical modes of argumentation—and do so in ways worthy ofcareful study. If philosophy (including philosophy of education) isdefined so as to include analysis and reflection at an abstract or“meta-level”, which undoubtedly is a domain where manyphilosophers labor, then these individuals should have a place in theannals of philosophy or philosophy of education; but too often,although not always, accounts of the field ignore them. Their workmight be subjected to scrutiny for being educationally important, buttheir conceptual or philosophical contributions are rarely focusedupon. (Philosophers of the physical and biological sciences are farless prone to make this mistake about the meta-level work ofreflective scientists in these domains.)

Essay on Greek Philosophers - 686 Words | Cram

Fourth, and in contrast to the group above, there is a type of workthat is traditionally but undeservedly given a prominent place in theannals of philosophy of education, and which thereby generates a greatdeal of confusion and misunderstanding about the field. These are thebooks and reflective essays on educational topics that were written bymainstream philosophers, a number of whom are counted among thegreatest in the history of the discipline. The catch is this: Evengreat philosophers do not always write philosophy! The reflectionsbeing referred to contain little if any philosophical argumentation,and usually they were not intended to be contributions to theliterature on any of the great philosophical questions. Rather, theyexpressed the author's views (or even prejudices) on educationalrather than philosophical problems, and sometimes—as in the caseof Bertrand Russell's rollicking pieces defending progressiveeducational practices—they explicitly were“potboilers” written to make money. (In Russell's case theroyalties were used to support a progressive school he was runningwith his then-current wife.) Locke, Kant, and Hegel also are amongthose who produced work of this genre. (It should be noted thatRussell also made serious contributions to philosophy of education ofthe technical sort discussed below. Cf. Hare 1987.)

Positions of the Greek Philosophers in Rafael's Painting Essay

One of the first points to be clear about is that a philosophical essay is quite ..

The educational principles developed by Rousseau and Dewey, andnumerous educational theorists and philosophers in the interregnum,are alive and well in the twenty-first century. Of particularcontemporary interest is the evolution that has occurred of theprogressive idea that each student is an active learner who ispursuing his or her own individual educational path. By incorporatingelements of the classical empiricist epistemology of John Locke, thisprogressive principle has become transformed into the extremelypopular position known as constructivism, according to which eachstudent in a classroom constructs his or her own individual body ofunderstandings even when all in the group are given what appears to bethe same stimulus or educational experience. (A consequence of this isthat a classroom of thirty students will have thirtyindividually-constructed, and possibly different, bodies of“knowledge”, in addition to that of the teacher.) There isalso a solipsistic element here, for constructivists also believe thatnone of us—teachers included—can directly access thebodies of understandings of anyone else; each of us is imprisoned in aworld of our own making. It is an understatement to say that thisposes great difficulties for the teacher. The education journals ofthe past two decades contain many thousands of references todiscussions of this position, which has become atype of educational “secular religion”; for reasons thatare hard to discern it is particularly influential in mathematics andscience education. (For a discussion of the underlying philosophicalideas in constructivism, and for an account of some of its varieties and flaws,see the essays in Phillips (ed. 2000.)

The Impact Of Enlightenment Philosophy Essay

It is important to note, too, that there is a sub-category withinthis domain of literature that is made up of work by philosophers whoare not primarily identified as philosophers of education, and whomight or might not have had much to say directly about education, butwhose philosophical work has been drawn upon by others and applied veryfruitfully to educational issues. (A volume edited by Amelie Rortycontains essays on the education-related thought, or relevance, of manyhistorically important philosophers; significantly the essays are written almost entirely by philosophers rather than by members of thephilosophy of education community. This is both their strength and their weakness. See Rorty 1998.)

Classical Philosophers Essays

John Locke is an interesting case in point. He had been requested bya cousin and her husband—possibly in part because of hismedical training—to give advice on the upbringing of their sonand heir; the youngster seems to have troubled his parents, most likelybecause he had learning difficulties. Locke, then in exile in Europe,wrote the parents a series of letters in which alongside sensibleadvice about such matters as the priorities in the education of alanded gentleman, and about making learning fun for the boy, there werea few strange items such as the advice that the boy should wear leakyshoes in winter so that he would be toughened up! The letterseventually were printed in book form under the title Some ThoughtsConcerning Education (1693), and seem to have had enormousinfluence down the ages upon educational practice; after two centuriesthe book had run through some 35 English editions and well over thirtyforeign editions, and it is still in print and is frequently excerptedin books of readings in philosophy of education. In stark contrast,several of Locke's major philosophical writings—theEssay Concerning Human Understanding, and the Letter onToleration—have been overlooked by most educationaltheorists over the centuries, even though they have enormous relevancefor educational philosophy, theory, policy, and practice. It isespecially noteworthy that the former of these books was the foundationfor an approach to psychology—associationism—thatthrived during the nineteenth century. In addition it stimulatedinterest in the processes of child development and human learning;Locke's model of the way in which the “blank tablet”of the human mind became “furnished” with simple ideas thatwere eventually combined or abstracted in various ways to form complexideas suggested to some that it might be fruitful to study thisprocess in the course of development of a young child (Cleverley andPhillips 1986).

Philosophers Views on Miracles Essay

As stressed earlier, it is impossible to do justice to the whole fieldof philosophy of education in a single encyclopedia entry. Differentcountries around the world have their own intellectualtraditions and their own ways of institutionalizing philosophy ofeducation in the academic universe, and no discussion of any of thisappears in the present essay. But even in the Anglo-American worldthere is such a diversity of approaches to the discipline that anyauthor attempting to produce a synoptic account will quickly run intothe borders of his or her competence. Clearly this hashappened in the present case.