Philosophy of education can refer to either the academic field of applied philosophy or to one of any educational philosophies that promote a specific type or vision of education, and/or which examine the definition, goals and meaning of education.
As an academic field, philosophy of education is "the philosophical study of education and its problems...its central subject matter is education, and its methods are those of philosophy". "The philosophy of education may be either the philosophy of the process of education or the philosophy of the discipline of education. That is, it may be part of the discipline in the sense of being concerned with the aims, forms, methods, or results of the process of educating or being educated; or it may be metadisciplinary in the sense of being concerned with the concepts, aims, and methods of the discipline." As such, it is both part of the field of education and a field of applied philosophy, drawing from fields of metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and the philosophical approaches (speculative, prescriptive, and/or analytic) to address questions in and about pedagogy, education policy, and curriculum, as well as the process of learning, to name a few. For example, it might study what constitutes upbringing and education, the values and norms revealed through upbringing and educational practices, the limits and legitimization of education as an academic discipline, and the relation between educational theory and practice.
Instead of being taught in philosophy departments, philosophy of education is usually housed in departments or colleges of education, similar to how philosophy of law is generally taught in law schools. The multiple ways of conceiving education coupled with the multiple fields and approaches of philosophy make philosophy of education not only a very diverse field but also one that is not easily defined. Although there is overlap, philosophy of education should not be conflated with educational theory, which is not defined specifically by the application of philosophy to questions in education. Philosophy of education also should not be confused with philosophy education, the practice of teaching and learning the subject of philosophy.
Philosophy of education can also be understood not as an academic discipline but as a normative educational theory that unifies pedagogy, curriculum, learning theory, and the purpose of education and is grounded in specific metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological assumptions. These theories are also called educational philosophies. For example, a teacher might be said to follow a perennialist educational philosophy or to follow a perennialist philosophy of education.
Famous quotes containing the words philosophy and/or education:
“Why it was that upon this beautiful feminine tissue, sensitive as gossamer, and practically blank as snow as yet, there should have been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receive; why so often the coarse appropriates the finer thus, the wrong man the woman, the wrong women the man, many years of analytical philosophy have failed to explain to our sense of order.”
—Thomas Hardy (18401928)
“Law without education is a dead letter. With education the needed law follows without effort and, of course, with power to execute itself; indeed, it seems to execute itself.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)