Written by leading general philosophers and philosophers of education, IMPACT provides a unique forum for the analysis of education policy and practice from a philosophical perspective. While there are times when the government should be involved in the marketplace, there are many instances in which planners and bureaucrats would only harm us. In the end, it comes down to efficient and intelligent regulation, the ability we have as a society to root out corruption and promote ethics in business, our ability to strike a balance between protecting the consumer and worker while protecting commerce, and the ability we have as a society to instill ethical, non-corrupt leaders.
It is sobering to reflect that only a few decades have passed since practitioners of analytic philosophy of education had to meet in individual hotel rooms, late at night, at annual meetings of the Philosophy of Education Society in the USA, because phenomenologists and others barred their access to the conference programs; their path to liberation was marked by discord until, eventually, the compromise of live and let live” was worked out (Kaminsky 1993).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) famously insisted that formal education, like society itself, is inevitably corrupting; he argued that education should enable the natural” and free” development of children, a view that eventually led to the modern movement known as open education.” These ideas are in some ways reflected in 20th-century progressivism,” a movement often (but not always accurately) associated with Dewey.
The overall picture that emerges from even a sampling of this collective is not pretty; the field lacks intellectual cohesion, and (from the perspective taken in this essay) there is a widespread problem concerning the rigor of the work and the depth of scholarship—although undoubtedly there are islands, but not continents, of competent philosophical discussion of difficult and socially important issues of the kind listed earlier.
Philip Kitcher focuses on the work of Dewey, Mill, and Adam Smith, arguing that Dewey’s philosophy of education has the resources to answer a challenge posed by Smith’s economic analyses, and that philosophers ought to embrace Dewey’s reconceptualization of philosophy as the general theory of education.” Catherine Elgin discusses the character of art and the centrality of art education to the curriculum.