Some argue that parents should have ultimate authority regarding their children’s educations, on the grounds that parents are more trustworthy, and in a more legitimate position of authority, than any government officials could be. Critics of this notion argue that it is not a parent’s right to control the educational fate of their children, and furthermore that the intolerant religious traditions of some could serve to undermine a reasonably democratic multicultural society. He argues that students must be educated for personal and communal freedom and authenticity, and to strive for the common good, suggesting how a Catholic philosophy of education can provide the framework for such personal and communal transformation. Topics covered in the Archambault volume were typical of those that became the bread and butter” of analytic philosophy of education throughout the English-speaking world—education as a process of initiation, liberal education, the nature of knowledge, types of teaching, and instruction versus indoctrination. Harvey Siegel is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami.
Some individuals work directly on issues of classroom practice, others identify as much with fields such as educational policy analysis, curriculum theory, teacher education, or some particular subject-matter domain such as math or science education, as they do with philosophy of education. There is extant some work of Aristotle’s (384-322 BCE), but it is fragmentary and a part of a theory of education rather than a philosophical treatment of such a theory. This educational philosophy stresses that students should test ideas by active experimentation.
Plato (427-347 BCE), influenced by the Sophists as well as by the speculative scientists and metaphysicians and inspired by the instruction of Socrates, gave us the first fully developed philosophy of education—that is, the first explicit, philosophical justification of a theory of education. So that people aiming to be culturally enriched should take the advantage of Education.
Relatedly, many feminist philosophers of education have questioned the focus traditional approaches to the philosophy of education place on those skills that are exercised in the public domain—skills such as reason, objectivity, and impartiality. The Teaching Philosophy coursework includes exercises in argument, reflection on personal practice and designing a Philosophy for Children enquiry. The chief purpose of education is to bring individuals closer to this social ideal.
As a philosophy professor, my job is not to pour wisdom in the minds of students, but to let them discover their own capabilities and potentials. However, the emphasis on socialization of a child according to set norms and traditions, does not contradict the idea that education should prepare a free individual who can judge, evaluate, know, and create with freedom.