CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 83 WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY?Many individuals have a philosophy embedded in their subconscious minds.Although one does not realize altogether that certain beliefs follow a selectedphilosophic approach, individual actions parallel certain philosophies morethan others. The following medium offers information concerning personalphilosophic beliefs so that a basic understanding can be obtained and a person-al philosophy developed. Please answer the following statements on the answersheet at the end of this section utilizing the scale: Strongly Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree|--------1------------------2------------------3-----------------4------------------5-------| 1. The subjects of a school are the most important feature of an education. 2. Schools should promote a teacher-centered environment in order to en- courage effective learning. 3. Education is a prerequisite for a student to understand life’s intentions. 4. What students are taught should be determined solely by student interest and input. 5. The deductive approach is the most effective method of teaching any sub- ject to students. 6. Universal truth is an individual perception. 7. If it happens, it is real. 8. Disregard the past and you are destined to repeat it. 9. A school’s curriculum should be determined by the specific needs of each community, where content is designed for the betterment of each student.10. Education should focus strongly on the development of reasoning skills of students.11. Curricular content should center primarily on the scientific method for re- solving dilemmas.12. Students should be free to explore their interests in whatever fashion they desire.13. The climate in which one lives solely defines one’s behavior.14. All children can learn the same thing, but not at the same rate.15. Students should be placed in classrooms according to their individual abilities.16. All reform movements in education are basically the same.17. The curriculum for students should contain a specific nucleus of informa- tion that is indigenous for all literate people.18. Ethical behavior and morality should be incorporated into a student’s learning process.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 8419. The curriculum of a school should not be decided by a small circle of school officials, but by all involved parties within the community.20. What is real is perceived differently by individuals, therefore no two things can be the same.21. Learning by specified programs of material in sequence is paramount to a child’s education.22. Teachers need to give more individual assistance in the classroom.23. Students with a mental disability cannot learn the same subject matter as regular students and should not be placed in a regular classroom environ- ment.24. Money is not the total answer to increased student achievement.25. Learning to read proficiently is the solution to the educational dilemma.26. Each individual in society must attain a specified body of knowledge to function properly.27. Student needs, experiences, and interests should be the determining factor when designing a school’s curriculum.28. A school’s curriculum should contain more electives for students to choose.29. A complete curricular analysis for effective teaching should include scope, sequence, articulation, pacing, and, most importantly, reward or re- inforcement.30. All teachers have an underlying concern for students and the learning pro- cess.31. Effective education begins at the home.32. Traditional education of the 1950s should be reinstated in the school cur- riculum.33. Teachers should not teach in areas where their proficiency is below aver- age.34. More emphasis should be placed on “The Great Men” and “The Great Books” of past civilizations.35. The curriculum should be entirely a hands-on, practical approach.36. Student achievement cannot take place in a traditional, lecture-oriented format.37. The environment is a tangible place where material is a solid representa- tion of what is.38. Students learn best in a one-on-one basis.39. Students, teachers, parents, and administrators should decide solely on the curricular structure of a school.40. What works in one environment does not necessarily work in another.41. There should be a distinct division of subject matter, not the consolidated collection presently advocated.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 8542. Art/music appreciation should stress past contributions rather than practi- cal applications.43. The teacher’s sole function in the classroom should be to guide students through problem-solving situations.44. A school environment should nurture students to find their roles in soci- ety.45. Fool me once, shame on you–fool me twice, shame on me.46. Children are born with universal knowledge and it is the teacher’s job to bring forth that knowledge.47. The universe is made from scientific laws and the scientific process is de- signed to explain our existence.48. If it works, it is true.49. Enculturation is the primary function of education.50. A school’s curriculum should concentrate on long-range goals, not on im- mediate concerns.51. A student should feel free to be inventive and communicate inner curiosi- ties without the threat of reprimand.52. Individuals are first an introvert and second an extrovert.53. The scientific approach is the best approach to effectively understand ex- plained and unexplained phenomenon.54. Reality is what one believes.55. Teachers should always adapt and should be flexible in the learning envi- ronment.56. We learn best from experience.57. A strict, proven curricular format is necessary to ensure proper learning.58. Even though students learn at different rates, every student should be ex- posed to the same learning material.59. School environments should be void of any autocracy by the teachers and/ or administration.60. Every child evolves at a different rate, both physically and mentally, and should be free, without interference, to do so.61. Students learn best when given an incentive or reward.62. Students know what they need to know and should follow their beliefs.63. Teachers are in the best position to determine appropriate learning activi- ties.64. Our past dictates our future.65. Students do not do enough outside assignments for effective exposure to the subject matter.66. The Socratic method of questioning should be utilized more in the class- room to cultivate critical thinking skills.67. Student-to-student interaction is the best learning method.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 8668. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” because there is no standardized scale for measuring beauty.69. Moral and ethical values are not inborn traits, but learned processes.70. Perceptions are everything in learning.71. Student success is a product of his/her environment regardless of intellec- tual capability.72. Field trips should be utilized more often to enhance the learning process.73. All teachers of a given subject should teach the same content in order to establish continuity of learning.74. Students learn by themselves under direct supervision of the teacher.75. Students learn better when grouped together than when separated for indi- vidual investigation.76. Having a child feel good about himself/herself is more important than what he/she learns.77. Standardized tests are the best measures of student achievement.78. There is no universal standard to describe beauty except in what one per- ceives.79. A structured curriculum is best for students to learn.80. I hear and I forget–I see and I remember–I do and I understand.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 87ANSWER SHEETPlace each numbered response for the corresponding questions in the appropri-ate space below.Scale Strongly Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree|--------1------------------2------------------3-----------------4------------------5-------| A B C D E F G H 1.____ 2.____ 3.____ 4.____ 5.____ 6.____ 7.____ 8.____ 9.____ 10.____ 11.____ 12.____ 13.____ 14.____ 15.____ 16.____17.____ 18.____ 19.____ 20.____ 21.____ 22.____ 23.____ 24.____25.____ 26.____ 27.____ 28.____ 29.____ 30.____ 31.____ 32.____33.____ 34.____ 35.____ 36.____ 37.____ 38.____ 39.____ 40.____41.____ 42.____ 43.____ 44.____ 45.____ 46.____ 47.____ 48.____49.____ 50.____ 51.____ 52.____ 53.____ 54.____ 55.____ 56.____57.____ 58.____ 59.____ 60.____ 61.____ 62.____ 63.____ 64.____65.____ 66.____ 67.____ 68.____ 69.____ 70.____ 71.____ 72.____73.____ 74.____ 75.____ 76.____ 77.____ 78.____ 79.____ 80.____
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 88SCORINGStep 1Total points for each column and place in the appropriate blank below.A____ B____ C____ D____ E____ F____ G____ H____Step 2Place the total of each column in the corresponding blanks below.Major Philosophic Off-Shoots Major PhilosophiesColumn A = ____ Essentialist Column E = ____ BehavioristColumn B = ____ Perennialist Column F = ____ IdealistColumn C = ____ Progressivist Column G = ____ RealistColumn D = ____ Existentialist Column H = ____ PragmatistScores indicate your agreement or disagreement with a particular philosophicalpoint of view. The highest score indicates a more prominent consensus and thelowest score indicates a more prominent conflict. The highest possible scorefor any philosophical category is 50 and the lowest possible score is 10.Comparing the scores on the left to the scores on the right will offer an inter-esting perspective concerning original philosophic views to the philosophicoff-shoots. The participant is directed to corresponding sections within the textfor a review of philosophic convictions.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 89 PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING KEY POINTS 1. Philosophy is not a science; it is an attempt to understand the world. 2. Educational philosophy is the application of formal philosophy to the field of education. 3. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with ultimate reality; epistemology focuses on knowledge, and axiology deals with the study of values. 4. Idealism, the philosophy of Plato, focuses on the search for truth. 5. Realism, the philosophy of Aristotle, supports the notion that knowledge can be gained through the senses and from deductive reasoning. 6. Pragmatism is an American philosophy that is associated with human ex- perience; John Dewey was a prominent pragmatist. 7. Existentialism, an individualized philosophy, represents a radical departure from other schools of philosophy and focuses on the individual. 8. Perennialism is an educational philosophy developed from realism, while the educational philosophy of essentialism is the basis for the back-to-the- basics movement in education. 9. Progressivism is associated with problem-solving techniques, while recon- structionism focuses on social reform.10. Basic philosophy and educational philosophy are directly related to what occurs in school classrooms.11. Philosophy directly impacts on curriculum and teaching practices.12. Some philosophies encourage a highly structured curriculum with close student monitoring, while others focus on limited structure and wide free- doms for students.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 90CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLINGA. OVERVIEWThis chapter provides basic information regarding philosophy and educationalphilosophy. It begins by discussing the basic philosophies, such as idealism andrealism, and then moves into a discussion of specific educational philosophies.B. KEY TERMS–DEFINITIONSANALYTICAL - allows the use of language to analyze words; currently thedominating activity of American and British philosophers; given to studying aproblem by breaking it down into its various parts.ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY - philosophy based on analytical activity.AXIOLOGY - area of philosophy that focuses on values.BEHAVIORAL ENGINEERING - a philosophy of education that focuses oncontrolling the learner’s environment.BEHAVIORISM - educational philosophy and practice that emphasized rein-forcing appropriate behavior or learning: includes the concepts of stimulus andresponse.ECLECTIC - selecting what appears to be the best doctrines, methods, styles,or philosophies.EPISTEMOLOGY - deals with knowledge; therefore, directly related to theinstructional methods employed by teachers.ESSENTIALISM - area of philosophy that believes a common core of knowl-edge and ideals should be the focus of the curriculum.EXISTENTIALISM - philosophy that emphasizes individuals and individualdecision-making.IDEALISM - a philosophy that emphasizes global ideas related to moral teach-ings.METAPHYSICS - the branch of philosophy that deals with ultimate reality.ONTOLOGY - the study of what is real; the primary focus of metaphysicsdealing with what is real about material objects, the universe, persons, being,mind, existence, and so forth. Hard core reality.PERENNIALISM - educational philosophy that believes in the existence ofunchanging universal truths.PRAGMATISM - philosophy that focuses on practical application of knowledge.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 91PRESCRIPTIVE - attempts to establish standards for assessing values, judg-ing conduct and appraising art: ordered with the force of authority.PROGRESSIVISM - educational philosophy emphasizing experience.RECONSTRUCTIONISM - educational philosophy calling for schools to getinvolved and support social reform.SPECULATIVE - considerate of possibilities and probabilities; philosophy isa search for orderliness applied to all knowledge; it applies systematic thinkingto everything that exists.SYNOPTIC - providing a general summary of data collected at many points topresent an overview.SYNTHESIS - assembling various parts into a whole; reasoning from self-evi-dent propositions, laws or principles to arrive by a series of deductions at whatone seeks to establish; enables educators to see the relationship of ideas topractice.C. SOME PRECEDING THOUGHTS1. What is Philosophy? Philosophy is the human being’s attempt to think most speculatively, re- flectively, and systematically about the universe and the relationship to that universe. Philosophy presents no proof; there are no theorems; there are no ques- tions that can be answered with yes or no.2. Why should educational philosophy be studied by prospective teachers? Studying educational philosophy can help teachers and other educators fo- cus on questions that are speculative, prescriptive, and analytical; it can help enlarge thoughts so better personal choices can be made; it helps in self-evaluation of beliefs and self-knowledge.3. What is the purpose of educational philosophy? The major role of philosophy in education is to help develop the educator’s thinking capacity.4. What are the three branches of philosophy? Metaphysics–deals with ultimate reality. Epistemology–deals with the nature of knowledge. Axiology–the study of values.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 925. What are the major schools of philosophy? Idealism–certain universal absolute concepts. Realism–work is governed by various laws, known or unknown. Pragmatism–primarily an American philosophy; scientific analysis, learn- ing through experience. Existentialism–believe students should control much of what goes on.6. What are the major schools of educational philosophy? Perennialism–a developed form of realism; the universal aim of education is truth. Essentialism–the three R’s should be the core of the curriculum. Progressivism–do not believe there is a need to search for eternal truths: emphasizes innovative education. Reconstructionism–calls for schools to get involved with and support so- cial reform. Behaviorism–manipulating people through the use of punishment and re- ward. Behavioral Engineering–control the learner’s environment to condition re- sponses.7. Which schools of general philosophy gave rise to schools of education- al philosophy? Idealism–Reconstructionism. Realism–Perennialism. Pragmatism–Progressivism, Essentialism. Existentialism–Pseudo or Authentic.8. What is the role of teachers? Just about anyone can read a teacher’s guide and present information in a sensible order. Understanding why it is presented in a particular way, if it should be presented in a particular way, or if it should be presented at all requires a different kind of knowledge.9. How does educational philosophy influence teachers’ actions? Philosophy impacts education through both teaching methods and curricu- lum. While some teachers use a hodgepodge approach to teaching, most consistently adhere to a certain philosophical approach, even though they may not realize it. Their methods and curriculum usually can be associated with a specific school of philosophy.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 9310. What is your philosophy of life? Philosophic Questions Branches of Philosophy Are human beings basically good or What is the nature of reality? is the essential nature of the human (Metaphysics–ontology) being evil? What causes certain events in the What is the nature of reality? universe to happen? (Metaphysics–cosmology) What is your relationship to the uni- What is the nature of reality? verse? (Metaphysics–cosmology) What is your relationship to a higher What is the nature of reality? being (God)? (Metaphysics–ontology) To what extent is your life basically What is the nature of reality? free? (Metaphysics–ontology) How is reality determined? What is the nature of reality? (Metaphysics–ontology) What is your basic purpose in life? What is the nature of reality? (Metaphysics–ontology) How is knowledge determined? What is the nature of knowledge? (Epistemology) What is truth? What is the nature of knowledge? (Epistemology) What are the limits of knowledge? What is the nature of knowledge? (Epistemology) What is the relationship between What is the nature of knowledge? cognition and knowledge? (Epistemology) Are certain moral or ethical values What is the nature of values? universal? (Axiology–ethics) How is beauty determined? What is the nature of values? (Axiology–aesthetics) What constitutes aesthetic value? What is the nature of values? (Axiology–aesthetics) Who determines what is right, just, or What is the nature of values? good? (Axiology–ethics)
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 9411. What are two essential needs individuals need to fulfill? 1. To love and be loved. 2. To feel worthwhile to self and others.12. What are the elements of Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues? 1. Temperance – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 2. Silence – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid tri- fling conversation. 3. Order – Let all your things have their place; let each part of your busi- ness have its time. 4. Resolution – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail- ing what you resolve. 5. Frugality – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. 6. Industry – Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 8. Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. 9. Moderation – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 10. Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. 11. Tranquility – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or un- avoidable. 12. Chastity – Rarely use “very” but for health or offspring, never to dull- ness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputa- tion. 13. Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates. Franklin attempted to take each of the above weekly and could repeat the cycle four times yearly. By the end of thirteen weeks he was im- plementing all thirteen.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 95D. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES1. What is your philosophy of education?2. Relate your philosophy of education to a formal, general philosophy, and an educational philosophy.3. How does your philosophy of education impact your behavior in the class- room?
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 96E. REVIEW ITEMSTrue-False1. Educational philosophy is rooted in general philosophy.2. The three main branches of philosophy are Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Axiology.3. Plato is considered the father of Idealism.4. The bases of Pragmatism lie in the progressive movement in the United States.5. Progressivism is based on the search for eternal truths.Multiple Choice1. The form of philosophy that establishes standards for assessing values, judging content, and appraising art is _______. a. analytic b. speculative c. prescriptive d. synthetic2. The branch of philosophy that focuses on knowledge is _______. a. Metaphysics b. Epistemology c. Axiology d. Pragmatism3. The most American philosophy is _______. a. Idealism b. Realism c. Pragmatism d. Existentialism4. Perennialism, like _______, holds that subject matter should be the center of education. a. Existentialism b. Realism c. Essentialism d. all of the above5. The emphasis in synoptic philosophy is in _______. a. seeing relationships b. discerning a gestalt c. removing inconsistencies d. all of the aboveF. PHILOSOPHIES OF EDUCATION – A Penetrating AnalysisSource: Kritsonis, W.A., & DeMoulin, D. (1996). Philosophies of education. Ashland, OH: BookMasters, Inc. Adapted with special permission.1. Foreword on Philosophies of Education. Education operates under the scrutiny of every leader and every citizen. All societies support education in some way, although not with the same intensity. Schools are the reflections of a nation. Education affects each
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 97 nation’s society and determines the status of the masses, as well as the sta- tus of the individuals. In early times, education was a means for survival; children were taught the necessary skills for living. Philosophers were sources of knowledge and wisdom. Although they did not provide specific answers, philosophers offered avenues for serious inquiry into ideas and traditions in rationaliz- ing human actions. They suggested that solving problems could be achieved through critical and reflective thought, and the pursuit of wis- dom. Educational philosophy is a way of examining ideas, proposals, and rec- ommendations for learning and how best to use them in the educational setting. Philosophy of education, therefore, is the application of ideas or idea systems to educational problems. The study of philosophy helps edu- cators understand the best avenues for success, realizing that no clear-cut answers to philosophical problems are provided. It does not guarantee bet- ter thinkers or educators; however, it does provide assistance in thinking more clearly. The roles of philosophy include: a. to examine critically the intellectual tools of any given era; b. to suggest alternative methods of thinking; c. to develop sensitivity to the logic and language we use in constructing solutions to problems in education and society. The purpose of this section is to serve the reader as a basic guide for better understanding philosophy.2. Philosophical Thoughts of Encouragement. When you get into a tight place and it seems you can’t go on . . . hold on for that’s just the place and the time when the tide will turn. Harriet Beecher Stowe The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide. Unknown If there is no wind, row. Unknown He only never fails who never attempts. Unknown Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall. Confucius3. Introduction to Philosophies of Education. People express opinions and maintain certain beliefs concerning what is right and what is good. These opinions have remained in a state of debate and occasionally in a state of confusion concerning interpretation. Individual philosophers have left supportive, yet contradictory marks throughout the slow and tedious climb of philosophical expression. Many
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 98 of these past thoughts and practices are operating in present-day education- al settings. We, as humans, are still searching for the ideal, workable sys- tem that will satisfy the present and will be flexible for the future. The popular view of philosophy is perplexing. One side views philosophy in pure veneration and awe, while other sides view it with enjoyment or even suspicion. Also, the popular view has been obscured in many of the things philosophers themselves have expressed about philosophy. The word “philosophy” comes from two Greek words meaning “love of wisdom.” Philosophy is a theoretical or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe. Philosophy is the belief system that a person develops concerning exis- tence, reality in the world, truth, knowledge, honesty, logic, ethics, thought processes, and aesthetics. In other words, a philosophy of life or education guides a person’s fundamental belief system that serves to help one answer life’s most perplexing questions. What, then, is a good definition of philosophy? The answer to this question has been a heated debate for many centuries. Philosophy, like art, religion, or law, is difficult to define. Therefore, it is probably best to offer sample questions that philosophy tries to answer. What constitutes the making of a good life? What constitutes universal law? Where do justice, morals, or beauty come into the picture? Where does truth fit into the scheme of things? And is there a reason for our exis- tence in the universe of knowledge? These questions are by no means a finite list, but they do propose some of the perpetual inquiries pertaining to philosophy. One does not need to ex- plore philosophy in order to question certain viewpoints concerning nature, existence, or truth. These are questions that occur anytime, anyplace and often without advanced warning. This can lead many individuals to discov- er similar viewpoints about basic ideas and/ or standards. Our primary pass-time, then, is to question the rights and privileges of others. This is what gives philosophy its fancy and interest, and it is also the basic reason why philosophy often provides the avenue for frequent upheaval in every- day happenings. It is the nature of man, therefore, to pass the blame of life’s happenings to some outside force controlled by an unknown entity. However, some philosophers believe that happenings on this earth are products of previous conditions. Individuals like to think of things in a concrete manner, but as we know from science, matter is composed of concealed fields of force that do not exhibit familiar traits or function in ways that are accepted as
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 99common occurrences. Does this phenomenon make our everyday experi-ence less meaningful?Philosophy can be thought of as an ordered attempt to explain and arrangecertain beliefs and to incorporate them into everyday functions. Everyfacet of knowledge has some sort of philosophical beginning, and askingphilosophical questions is not limited to philosophers. Why should theyhave all the fun and excitement of trying to explain the functions of life?There is no boundary for philosophical examinations, but philosophy isgenerally divided into the main groups of Ethics, Aesthetics, Logic, Episte-mology, Metaphysics, and Axiology.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 100 a. Ethics – the study of what is morally good and right and the reasoning to explain our moral conduct. It is usually associated with the social and political aspects of life. Ethics and education are integrated in nu- merous ways. For example, ethical inquiries need to be examined to de- termine the intention of education; principals should behave ethically toward teachers and students; teachers and students should behave ethi- cally toward one another and to the principal; the educational environ- ment should be designed ethically to promote morally good and right behaviors, and so forth. b. Aesthetics – deals with the question, “What is beauty?” It also pertains to the foundation on which judgment is based. Some individuals are able to articulate the encounters they are having as worthwhile because they provide moments of imaginatively enriched perceptions. Others are either unwilling or are incapable of interpreting the reasons for their enjoyment or displeasure; many times they are unsure of their feelings. They may find some immediate fulfillment but are incapable of articu- lating what they have experienced or of expressing those feelings into words. c. Logic – relates to the development of a distinct set of practices and boundaries that allow the practitioners to express curiosities with a sense of exactness (thinking effectively). From these expressions, infer- ences can be created from given assumptions. Ambiguity is more or less illuminated from thought to allow a more powerful representative language to come through. The fire of logic is seen as a purifier of thought, fading into the depths of knowledge, and trying to uncover the meaning of certain claims about the universe and our existence (What do we believe? What should we do? What should we say? and so on). d. Epistemology – concerns itself with what constitutes knowledge and how we arrive at it. It promotes the concept of each assisting others in attaining knowledge. Because each individual manifests certain knowl- edge capabilities, it is within our nature to uncover the best avenue to share that knowledge. This fundamental concept has an important bear- ing on how we think and act. Although such a simplistic view of knowledge is virtually impossible today, we have made significant at- tempts to investigate and understand knowledge. The broad definition of knowledge allows each individual the basis for judgment and critical reflection.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 101 e. Metaphysics – the study of the most generic qualities of events. It is an attempt to provide theory or groups of rational principles that account for everything that exists. It is the study of the Being as a whole. The quarrel against the metaphysical belief is that it is sometimes consid- ered the most inclusive of all studies–describing the supreme character of things. f. Axiology – the study of what is of value. It is an attempt to examine the rules of proper conduct. Societies reward or punish behavior as it devi- ates from or conforms to perceptions of what is of most value. Whatever one may think of philosophy, it has maintained durability, if only in interest. Whether in an attack or a defense mode, it is likely to reveal basic views about the character of the universe and the basic re- sponsibilities regarding proper conduct for the essence of life. In trying to make sense of the many different philosophical positions, one could spend an extreme amount of time in reflection. It does seem imperative, however, to become familiar with some of the philosophi- cal ideas that have impacted our past and that have set in motion the path of the future.4. Activities for Philosophies of Education. a. Activity 1 Write a basic definition of philosophy. In small groups, compare defi- nitions and try to reach a compromise on one basic definition. b. Activity 2 Write a brief definition for the following areas. Aesthetics Logic Epistemology Metaphysics Axiology Share these definitions with others to see how they compare.5. Philosophical Thoughts of Encouragement. Out of your weakness shall come your strength. The Bible The force of the waves is in their persistence. Gila Guri Many strokes, though with a little axe, hews down and fells the hardest timbered oak. Shakespeare
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 102 Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Henry Ford The greater the obstacle, the more the glory in overcoming it. Confucius Home is not a place, it is a moment in time. Draw your strength from that moment in time. Annette Marchand6. The Philosophies of Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism, and Existentialism. The world has been saturated with philosophical doctrines created mostly by individuals seeking to explain man’s role or existence. However, of the many philosophical approaches, only a select few cannot be traced. Hence, the majority of the Western philosophical views can be associated with four primary philosophies: Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism, and Existen- tialism. These four views constitute the basis for explanation and discus- sion of other less prominent branches within this text. a. The Influence of Socrates No study of philosophy would be complete without mentioning Socrates. It was he who provided inspiration and guidance to others from his teachings. Socrates was a Greek philosopher and teacher, and a controversial fig- ure in present-day interpretation of Greek thought. He was born in Athens about 469 BC, the son of a stone-mason and, for a time, prac- ticed the trade himself. Material goods were unimportant for Socrates and he had little respect for social status. He left no writings of his own and probably never made any. All that is known about Socrates is taken from his finest stu- dents, Plato and Aristotle. After Socrates became interested in philosophy, he began discussing it with anyone who would listen. He did not teach in an ordinary sense because he did not collect fees, give any formal instruction, hold any classes, or give any lectures. He simply asked questions and would dominate an argument at any time. His method of inquiry (Socratic questioning) allows the individual to seek answers otherwise not con- sidered. His influence is still a major factor in thought and in teaching. People often asked his advice on matters of practical conduct and edu- cational problems. Socrates believed that he himself was an inquirer who knew nothing and had nothing to teach, but regarded every ques- tion as an open question and all ideas open to challenge. Although he was ready to converse with anyone, above all he welcomed the compa- ny of the inquisitive youth. Socrates discussed only human concerns,
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 103 which included what makes humans good as individuals or as citizens. His discussions were much like cross-examinations. Socrates asked questions to make people think about things they had taken for granted. He was the first to raise the problem of definition and always sought essence and demonstrative proofs. Socrates had a strong belief that virtue was knowledge. To Socrates, perfection was in the knowledge of good and evil. Pleasure was mistaken for good when it was not really good, according to Socrates and his friends. In this field of conduct, education was not teaching, it was opening the soul and clearing its vision from the distorting mists of prejudice and from the conceit of knowledge that is really no more than second-hand opin- ion. He was merely undermining the morality of obedience to authority and of conformity to custom. Socrates felt that ignorance left man no better than a slave. Socrates concentrated on physical descriptions of the universe and moved forward to ethical and logical inquiries. He believed that a per- son should make the best of himself and then move on. Learning was not perceived as remembering answers but as searching for them. Self- control was very important to Socrates, as well as the study of language and rhetoric. Rhetoric and language were the keys to private and politi- cal success. Socrates had many young friends. Because of his controversial meth- ods, Socrates was accused by his government of corrupting the minds of adolescents and also of introducing new gods to Athens. Socrates was condemned to die by drinking Hemlock; however, he could have avoided death if he chose to go into exile. He refused to do so and was said to have died in 399 BC. Socrates died believing that true self was not the body but the soul. In any case, his independence will always be admired.b. The Basic Philosophy of Idealism Idealism was the dominant philosophy of the thinkers of western civi- lizations during the latter half of the 19th century. Idealists believe that external reality must be understood through the medium of the human mind. When humans come into relationship with whatever exists, the human mind functions to grasp the nature of reality. The three key words of idealism are growth, imitation, and maturity. By imitating a model of behavior, we mature and grow toward an ideal that contains the perfection of virtues.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 104 Idealism applies to any theory that views the world as being made up of mind, spirit, or reason. True knowledge to the idealist is a coherent, systematic interpretation of events. Values come as a result of an indi- vidual’s perception of attainment and enjoyment in his/her experiences. The idealist feels that to learn is to distinguish among values because some values are a matter of personal preference while others are abso- lute regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The main goal of idealism is for the “finite person” to develop into an “infinite person.” One accomplishes this feat through the process of ed- ucation. The philosophy of an idealist education, therefore, is to culti- vate the personality. Education is seen as perfecting humanity in the image of an ideal. The aim is infinite, the process is endless and educa- tion is a means to an end. There are many common grounds on which most idealists agree. Ideal- ists feel ultimate reality is of the same substance as ideals. Behind the astonishing world is an infinite Spirit or ideal that is both substructure and creator of the cosmos. Hence, Idealists believe that they are spirits, but that they are also finite. Concerning knowledge, idealists believe that man can achieve truth by examining personal ideas and testing personal consistency. Value and meaning are obtained by relating parts as wholes. Idealism is a mental approach to philosophy. One does not directly know circumstances around him/her. These formalities are conceived in relation to personal experience. c. Major Contributors to Idealism 1. Formal Idealism Plato. Plato is considered to be the first and foremost Idealist. Pla- tonic Idealism rests on the distinction between appearance and re- ality. Out of his analysis of this distinction grew his theory of ideas. Plato has been often called the Prince of Philosophy due to certain fundamental questions that he explored. These questions are still being examined today. He lived from 427 BC to 346 BC, but many of the biographically important events in his life remain hidden or must be inferred from his writings. His lifetime corresponded with the Golden Age of Athenian democracy; a time of plagues, winless confrontations, and revolutions. Plato came from a family of high distinction. However, the political environment exuded a counterrevolutionary tone where democracy
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 105was synonymous with corruption and the class system. It was at thistime that Plato concluded that mankind would find no cessationfrom evil until either the real philosophers gain political control orelse the politicians become, by some miracle, real philosophers.One of the great influences on the life of Plato was the life andteachings of Socrates. However, Plato altered the Socratic faith asmuch as it altered him, modifying this Socratic ideal of philosophyinto a new Platonic system.Plato believed that these formal structures, grasped by the mindalone, were more knowable and more real than the changeable ma-terial objects that are grasped through the senses. He emphasizedthat men should concern themselves with the search for truth be-cause truth is, in essence, perfect and eternal. He considered mathe-matics as an eternal truth because it represents one area that peoplecan agree. It also represents a balance that approaches the ideal inthe world of chaos.Plato believed that critical discussion (dialectic) helps one move to-ward the Good (considered to be the source of all true knowledge)by advancing from mere opinion to true knowledge. Dialectic pro-vides the impetus to examine both sides of an issue. Through dia-logue, Plato felt that individuals would come closer to agreement,therefore closer to the truth.The Platonic aim of developing the power of reason is evident inour educational system. Plato believed that proper education super-sedes law. There would be no need to dictate laws to humans ofgood breeding, for they will find out for themselves what regula-tions would be needed. Good breeding develops through a soundeducational system that produces reasonable humans. Once such asystem is established, each repetition can lead to better humans untilthe ideal representation is reached for whom no laws are needed.Plato believed that intelligence was determined genetically and thateach person was born with a soul. This soul, either of gold, silver,or bronze determined his or her capacity to rise through the educa-tion system. He advocated strong censorship by the government toprotect this ideal educational system from corruptive innovations.Education ideas in his Republic were never adopted and, at onepoint, some were labeled reactionary.The rulers in Plato’s Republic were to be the steadiest, bravest,most handsome and most gifted for the task of governing. This elite
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 106 “Philosopher King” group would be sifted from the masses at dif- ferent levels of the educational program. This system incorporated a ruling group of gold, an administrative group of silver and the free laboring class of bronze–following his concept of predetermined in- telligence. Since one’s composition would be determined by birth rites, only the elite would be educated to the task of ruling. Their education would continue throughout their lifetimes to fit them best for their specialty. Others would not be given the opportunity for such an advanced education. This scenario is extremely out of line with modern principles of democracy. Most Americans believe that all individuals should be educated for the task of governing, since America is of a “rule by the people” conviction. Plato would think it impossible for all indi- viduals to be capable of ruling and making choices. He might have speculated that instead of one class of elite rulers, Americans have been led to believe that the majority of people help establish the continuity of the country when, in reality, only a hand full of indi- viduals actually control the power. Plato advocated that when the people falsely believe that they can think for themselves, they be- come even more susceptible to propaganda and advertising. Plato would argue that, since we believe that special talent and spe- cial training are required for mastery of the arts and crafts, we should also see the need for such mastery in our leaders. This line of reasoning seems convincing, and it is one area that is impossible to disprove. Nevertheless, one can point to the greatness and longevity of American democracy as a practical example of the benefit of education of the masses. The writings of Plato are historically divided into three periods. The dialogues occupy the first period. These writings exemplify the Socratic method in that the definitions of general notions are given. A dialogue may take the question, “What is beauty” and explore many facets of it, answering in tones of philosophical grandeur. The middle-period writings are filled with lively dramatizations and argumentation. During this phase, Plato began to espouse a positive, philosophical doctrine. The Republic, perhaps Plato’s most well- known work, is found here. The third period concerns itself with sophisticated issues. The writ- ings consider grammatical and semantic matters. Questions of truth and falsehood abound.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 107 As history unfolds itself, it is clear the middle period of Plato’s life contained the most dramatic philosophies. He developed the view of an ideal society or state and devoted substantial space to the ends and means of education. Some historians think that the Republic is a blueprint for a totalitarian state, but educators have hailed it as the foundation for advanced education. Plato managed to separate the world of things, as they are, from the world of ideas where things are perfect. He believed the ultimate end of all education is insight into the harmonious order of the whole world. In other words, the main role of education is to devel- op the ability to bring to consciousness the knowledge hidden with- in the soul. True knowledge, therefore, is not perceived by the sens- es, but is discovered by reason. Plato sees the sensory world as con- tinually changing and not as eternal. Consequently, Plato established within his curriculum subjects that he thought would accomplish his desired aim. He held that geome- try, arithmetic, astronomy, music, and solid geometry were the sub- jects that held the power of turning the soul’s eye from the material world to objects of pure thought. These areas were the only true sci- ences to him. The natural sciences were not justified because the sensory world could not hold exact and eternal truths.2. Religious Idealism Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine, a Roman Catholic, believed that we should release ourselves from the world of Man and enter into the world of God. He proposed the use of meditation and faith as the means to the end. This classification can be tied to Eastern phi- losophy since the Judeo-Christian faith is characterized by ultimate reality in God with the soul as the bridge to this ultimate reality. The Roman Catholic church was influenced by the philosophy of Idealism. The concern of the church was that mankind inherited the sin of Adam and was continuously engaged in a struggle to regain purity. Augustine emphasized that the world of God is the Good to which Plato referred. He believed that the world of Man is the ma- terial world of darkness, sin, ignorance and suffering and man should try to enter the world of God through meditation and faith. This, he concluded, is because knowledge was created by God and can only be found trying to find God.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 108 3. Subjective Idealism George Berkeley. George Berkeley (1685-1753) is thought to have introduced subjective Idealism to the world. Berkeley, an Episcopal minister, related that matter did not exist except through the mind. All knowledge that a human has of an object is his/her sensations of it. He argued that ideas exist only in human consciousness. Berkeley believed that all existence was dependent on some mind to comprehend it and that nothing would exist unless it was perceived by God; there was no existence without this perception. The ideas and spirit had been profaned by science that created atheists. His purpose was to prove that God is the true cause of all things. 4. Absolute Idealism George Wilhelm Friedreich Hegel. George Wilhelm Friedreich Hegel (1770-1831) promoted this branch of philosophy. Hegel was a German-born philosopher and one of the most influential thinkers of recent times. Hegel considered evil necessary to stimulate change in order to bring about God. Thus, the human mind grows and the world improves. In a contended state, there is insufficient contradic- tion to stimulate improvement. Hegel believed that humankind was made for achievement, not for happiness to achieve. For this belief, humans should be willing to risk revolution. Convinced that “the times make the man,” Hegel was confident that a leader would arise to synthesize the forces and to bring harmony out of chaos. Hegel affirmed that logic, nature, and spirit were necessary to his belief and that thought was a continuum and not a series of unions. He suggested that nature is the difference between value and fact and he did not view logic and nature as separate. He believed that spirit was the final absolute and the final end toward which anyone can move (search for the Absolute Spirit). 5. Modern Idealism Josiah Royce. Modern Idealism can be traced to Josiah Royce (1855-1916) and Herman Harrell Horne (1874-1946). Royce was a spokesman for Hegelian Idealism and maintained that the external meaning of a thing depends entirely on its internal meaning–an em- bodiment of purpose. This internal essence is all mental. Royce be- lieved that ideas were purposes or plans of action that have been put into action and that one of the most important things for humans to develop is a sense of loyalty to moral principles and causes. He re-
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 109 garded a human’s purpose as teacher of how individuals can be- come active ingredients in the purposes of life. Herman Harrell Horne. Herman Horne demonstrated a wide in- terest in questions of religion and education, and this interest was reflected in the more than 20 publications bearing his name. He be- lieved that not only knowledge but also reality was idealistic rather than actual. Further, reality, if found only in reason, permits humans to reconcile contradictions into a more harmonious relationship throughout the universe. Modern Idealism can be described as systematization and subjec- tivism. The belief is that matter cannot exist except as a form of mind.6. Other Contributors René Descartes. René Descartes (1596-1650) challenged the Catholic Doctrines. He searched for undoubtable ideas because of his methodical doubt of all things, including his existence. Descartes brought forth the idiom, “I think, therefore I am.” He em- phasized that any idea depended on other ideas because they re- ferred to another idea; the only idea that did not refer was the Per- fect Being (God), the source of all things. Descartes believed in two principles: Cogito, or the undoubtability of human thought; and De- ity, or the foundation of all objects of thought. Immanuel Kant. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) believed the ratio- nalist thinks analytically while the empiricist thinks synthetically. He considered the mind is conscious of the experience of the thing- in-itself and that each experience of a thing is one additional piece of knowledge about the total thing. All we know, he contended, is the content of experience. Kant found it impossible to make universal and necessary judg- ments about human experience purely on rational and scientific grounds. He believed that man’s most difficult problem is educa- tion. He affirmed that each person should treat others as an end and never as a means. He viewed education as important because hu- mans were the only beings that needed it. The disciple was a prima- ry ingredient and the education of children was necessary to im- prove the future. Kant firmly established the need to teach a child to think according to principles and the importance for children to per- form their duties toward oneself and others.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 110 7. Implications for Education The educational philosophy of Idealism focuses on three concerns: (a) who should be responsible for education, (b) who should be taught, and (c) what should be the curriculum. The aim of education to the idealist is to assist in the development of the mind and self of the pupil, and to assist in attaining the good life of the Spirit. The schools are to emphasize intellectual activities, moral judgment, aesthetic judgment, self-realization, individual freedom, individual responsibility and self- control. The curriculum must be based on the idea of the spiritual nature of humans and must draw on both sources of truth and right opinion for its subject matter. Truth is preserved in a literary intellectual in- heritance. This inheritance is characterized by performance and sta- bility. The prime purpose is to teach students to think—to teach skills that develop conceptual ability. Education must preserve the subject matter content that is essential for the development of the individual mind. The chief characteris- tics are constant subjects, required subjects, individual differences, normative, cultural enrichment, and logical organization. Greater emphasis is placed on aesthetics. The actual content of the subject is less important than the teacher or purpose for which it is taught. Ev- ery human experience cannot be included in a school’s curriculum. This leaves educators to employ a process of selection and the school’s curriculum should contain the most rewarding, the most formative experiences. When students leave the school, they should be cultivated human beings ready to transcend the realm of nature to engage in the world of thought, ready to assume their obligations as good citizens and ready to see the beauty and hold in awe the mysteries of the universe. More than anything else, they will be per- sons ruled by thought. To a great extent, the teacher is central in the idealist pattern of edu- cation. The teacher is more the key to the educative process than any other element comprising it. The teacher is in the singular posi- tion of determining what the student’s opportunities for learning and growing shall be. Teachers must lead their students toward a fuller understanding of their own capacities, help them see more clearly what they may be- come as persons, and give them the confidence for realizing the vi- sions they have of themselves.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 111In schooling’s first years, idealists maintain, teachers come close tocreating an educational environment for their students, but as learn-ing proceeds and as students become better equipped to meet learn-ing on their own terms, teachers should prudently withdraw. Theyshould know when students need them and when they are better leftalone.The idealist teacher must possess:a. a personification for the child;b. knowledge of pupils;c. excellent technical skills;d. dexterity that commands the respect of the pupil;e. friendship of the individual student;f. the ability to awaken a desire to learn in each pupil;g. a spiritual relationship with God in perfecting mankind;h. the ability to communicate with his/her pupils;i. the appreciation of the subjects he or she teaches.Idealist teachers are tolerant not only of the mistakes their studentswill inevitably make, but of opinions differing from their own.Teachers should guide and stimulate the students to search for per-sonal solutions to the problems life poses. And at the same time,these teachers should be alert to the requirements of logic and thedemands of truth and should never be ready to sell either at a dis-count.The student is the foremost concern. Idealists say that education ac-tually takes place within the self of the pupil, that is to say that whatstudents do in reaction to what is done to them constitutes the coreof education. Consequently, for the idealist, all education is self-ed-ucation. The development of mind is from within out, not fromwithout in. The teacher may lead the pupil to the fonts of learning,but the teacher cannot make the pupil drink its juices. Teaching isnot so much the cause of learning as it is the occasion or conditionof learning. The cause of learning is the pupil and the pupil’s effort.The ultimate responsibility for winning in education rests with thewill of the pupil. The educational process is, therefore, not so muchthe stimulus shaping the individual as the individual responding tothe stimulus. Growth can come only through self-activity and self-direction.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 112 Self-activity leading to self-development, according to idealists, is not an abstract process having little relation to bodily or temporal factors. To develop the self certainly includes development of the body and fully embraces physical education. But, development of the body is limited to developing and strengthening what is given the individual at birth. Education cannot add to the nerve cells of the brain, but it can fully develop capacities for which potential is given to the individual. Educational philosophers must have some understanding of the hu- man capacity before they can say anything about the purpose of ed- ucation or the kind of learning most suitable for the formation of human beings. Plato, although uncertain of the good to be reaped, spoke of the sensibleness in educating both boys and girls. Depend- ing on their talent, persons of either sex could go all the way to the top of the intellectual ladder by capitalizing on the chances they had for forming their minds. The basic principle of idealism is to recognize the superiority of mind over matter, so it must be in a person’s mind that education is commissioned to cultivate. When idealists speak of education being a cultivating agent, there is no intention to restrict this cultivating function solely to schools. The whole society is a teacher and this social teaching may be far superior to any other teaching that indi- viduals will ever have and self-realization is the central aim. Social inheritance contains a kind of information incomparable to all subjects taught in school. Education is a social enterprise and its principle purpose is to immerse all persons in society into the main- stream of the cultural and intellectual inheritance. A great deal of teaching from the idealist view is informal and no school can ever take its place. Idealism promotes a system of learning that stresses questioning and discussion, lecture, and individual and group projects. The pupil is a spiritual being that possesses a uniqueness. This unique- ness involves the belief that the pupil is in the process of becoming. Therefore, a child is neither good nor evil at birth and the potential for good or evil depends upon the environment. Idealists cannot guarantee that human beings will always act for their own good or for the good of their society despite an internal motivation to do so. But the idealist’s philosophy permeates the foundation on which genuinely human life must always stand.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 1137. Basic Philosophy of Realism. Whether something is “real,” whether it exists and in what sense it exists scarcely constitutes a problem for people most of the time. When some- thing is either unclear or in dispute, the reality of a given thing or event is the central issue. Realism has been pictured as a critical philosophy in which truth is deter- mined scientifically. It respects both the scientific product and the scientif- ic method. Like idealism, it is based on absolute truths; and like pragma- tism, it is an experience-based philosophy that requires experimentation. However, behind all disputes about what should or should not be done are certain assumptions of “what is.” Realism proclaims that objects of per- ception are objects and contain real existence outside the mind. This idea was developed in opposition to all forms of idealism. The idea of inter-penetration between the world and the consciousness, body, and mind is one whose full implications are still being explored. The equation between the two spheres of body and mind, if infinitely subtle, may be inexpressible and seems not to exist. Perhaps there is a degree of perception that what is real and what is imagined are one in the same. Most persons divide the world into two kinds of reality. One is taken to be a world of objective fact in which the world is asserted to exist indepen- dent of any knower. A fact simply is, and is, in no way, affected by being known. Quite apart from the world of fact existing independently of humans is an- other world in which reality is internal. This world usually encompasses artistic values, performance in music, taste, and other phenomena that are personal or subjective in nature. This world is seen as having no relation- ship with the world of facts and belonging exclusively to one’s private judgment. In this world, what is good is good for me. The position that Realism has historically opposed is the belief that reality is internal. The core of the realistic position is that reality is something that exists external to mind, thought, observation, or belief. Realists usually maintain that ultimate reality is a thing whose structure or function is inde- pendent of any knower. Realists assert that a thing exists first and that knowledge of reality is simply a mental picture of the object. The central core of realism is referred to as the Theory of Independence. This theory is a simple and unqualified assertion that ultimate reality is in- dependent of any knower. Frederick Breed, a 20th-century realist, promoted a concept for the realist that becoming known is an event that happens to things assumed to exist prior to and independently of the act of knowing.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 114 Present-day realism is a complex, highly refined position that is usually grounded in some theoretical description of a method of physical and natu- ral sciences. Realists prefer to adhere closely to what might be called a hard-line stance with scientific theory. It is based on the assumption that however difficult it is to pierce through inaccurate observations, precon- ceived ideas, and variable perceptions, reality can be known in its own terms. What is said about reality and what reality is may or may not be the same thing. When reality corresponds precisely to a “what is” concept, we are speaking of truth. Truth is a perfect copy of what exists. This theory of truth is referred to as The Correspondence Theory and is the test for true, reliable, and accu- rate knowledge. Therefore, reality is not invented; it is discovered through observation by logical means following logical scientific procedures. In some cases, observations need not be careful or lengthy, for it does not take much observation to determine that a bucket of water is larger than a drop of water. However, in other cases, reality is discovered by careful, systematic, and controlled observation. This process involves performing certain operations in a precise manner.8. Major Contributors to Realism. a. Classical Tradition Aristotle. Aristotle was born in 384 BC and died in 322 BC, the son of a physician. He was sent to study at Plato’s academy about 367 BC and remained there until Plato’s death. Aristotle followed Plato’s traditions, but as his life experiences dictated, he developed his own style and phi- losophy. Aristotle’s writings, as Plato’s, are divided into three periods. In many of his writings, he followed Plato’s model, but his own style was in- deed at work. Popular writings are contained in the first division. The second division contains memoranda and collections of material with just enough research to introduce the third category where scien- tific and philosophical treatises emerge. Aristotle applied natural histo- ry to animals and metaphysics and came to the conclusion that the body is an instrument of the soul. For this, he is often referred to as the first biologist. Scientists and philosophers have long referred to his works for information and inspiration. Even though Aristotle was a student of Plato, it is evident from the study of these two philosophers that many of their ideas and theories are different. Plato viewed philosophy from the perspective of the artist while Aristotle’s view was from that of a scientist. Plato’s philosophy
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 115is embedded in an art form itself—that of dialogue, while Aristotletreated philosophic problems in a cold, analytical prose style. Plato wasintent on the ideal; whereas, Aristotle was grounded in the reality.Aristotle contributed a great deal to the development of philosophy inancient Greece. As a student of Plato, he spent some 20 years studyingand teaching. Aristotle established a school called the Lyceum.Aristotle believed that a proper study of matter could lead to better andmore distinct ideas (forms). Forms, such as the idea of God or of a tree,can exist without matter, but there can be no matter without form. Eachpiece of matter has both a universal and a particular property. Particularproperties of one acorn differentiate it from other acorns; that is, size,shape, color, weight, and so forth. These forms are the non-material as-pects of each particular object that relate to all other particular objectsof that class.Aristotle believed that one could understand form by studying particu-lar material things. He argued that the form of things, the universalproperties of objects, remain constant and never change; whereas, par-ticular components do change. He contended that form was within par-ticular matter and was even the motivating force of that matter.Aristotle also believed that each object has a tiny soul that directed it inthe right way. The deeper one goes into the matter, the more one is ledto philosophy. His two extremes (too much and too little) constitutedhis belief that one should strive for the Golden Mean (the proper per-spective or a path between the extremes). When the Golden Mean isreached, balance, the central component to his view, is assured andthis, in his mind, produces good citizens.Aristotle believed that organic development was the tool of understand-ing and that reality existed in individual things that were in the processof change. He regarded the natural world and the pursuit of human in-terests in this world as the only subjects worthy of human concern. Hewrote nothing directly on education, but references to education appearthroughout his works. He felt that education was designed to preservethe stability of the state, to create good citizenship, and to prevent revo-lutions. Children, like young animals, needed training in good habits,with experiences selected for them to help them find happiness in a se-cure state. Aristotle did not consider himself a reformer, but a scientist.Aristotle proclaimed four causes: Material, the matter from whichsomething is made; Formal, the design that shapes the material object;Efficient Cause, the agent that produces the object; and Final Cause,the direction toward which the object is tending. He believed that ulti-
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 116 mate reality was the power or source to which matter points beyond it- self. God, the Creator, he believed, was a logical explanation for the or- der of the universe. His logical method of inquiry was deductive reasoning because truth was derived from generations of research. He believed, however, that one major problem with deductive reasoning was that if the major premise was false, the conclusion would also be false. Aristotle asserted the chief good was happiness that depended upon a virtuous and well-ordered soul. This can happen only as one develops virtuous habits shaped through education. Education, he believed, de- veloped individual reasoning capacity so one can make correct choices. This means the path of moderation, of acceptance, and of following such a principle became the core of educational proposals. b. Religious Realism Saint Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) became a leading authority on Aristotle. He realized that teaching truth to minds made for truth was of such intrinsic excellence that, as far as he could see, no human could teach, but only God himself. He argued that God was pure reason and that God created matter out of nothing and He gave purpose to the universe. Aquinas felt that all truths were eternally in God and that truth was passed to humans by divine revelation. He believed that all creatures were under God’s governance of the world but that some creatures have a share in this divine governance because they can understand the end and use specific means to attain the understood end. Aquinas also believed the soul is a creation; it is immortal and from God. Aquinas integrated Aristotle’s philosophy with the teachings of the church and worked out a relationship between reason and faith. For this he was referred to as the Angelic Doctor. He questioned whether one human can teach another or whether this role belongs to God alone. He viewed that only God should be called “Teacher” because one human mind could not directly communicate with another mind unless through usage of symbols. Regarding teaching, he thought that only God could touch the inside–the soul. Others could only point the learner to knowl- edge. Aquinas believed that each of us is born with an immortal soul with the seeking of perfection of human beings and the reunion of the soul to the soul of God as major educational goals. He thought the soul pos- sessed an inner knowledge; therefore, a proper education recognized
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 117 both the spiritual and material natures of an individual. Since he felt the spiritual side was higher and more important, he favored education of the soul. Aquinas also felt the family and the church were the primary agencies of education. The mother is the child’s first teacher and she should set the moral tone. The church should be the source for under- standing God’s law. The state should formulate and enforce laws con- cerning education. Philip H. Phenix. Philip H. Phenix (1915- ) Professor Emeritus of Phi- losophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, elaborated a philosophical theory of curriculum for general education. During 1981, Professor William Kritsonis served as a Visiting Scholar at Teachers College and studied under Dr. Phenix. Phenix, a classical realist, emphasized that knowledge in the disciplines has logical pat- terns, structures, and forms. Understanding these typical patterns is es- sential for guidance of teaching and learning. Professor Phenix identi- fied six fundamental patterns of meaning: symbolics, empirics, esthet- ics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics. Phenix believes that learning these patterns is the clue to effective teaching and learning. He also stressed the importance of understanding representative ideas, methods of inquiry, and the importance of appealing to the imagination.c. Modern Realism Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) brought about the study of realism stemming from a revolt against the spiritualistic idealism of Hegel. Bacon, also referred to as the “father of the scientific method,” recommended the method of scientific inquiry be adapted to determine truth. He believed that knowledge was power and acquiring this know- ledge could allow one to deal effectively with problems. He thought that science could not be burdened with preconceived notions from de- ductive generalizations. From this, he formulated the inductive method for problem solving. The premise for inductive reasoning was to begin with observable instances and then reason to general statements. He surmised that one who begins with absolute truths is less likely to change them. Bacon urged that individuals examine all previously accepted knowl- edge and rid the mind of various idols or presumed falsities. Induction would allow each individual to arrive at generalizations on the basis of systematic observations of particulars.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 118 d. Other Contributors John Locke. John Locke (1632-1704), another contributor to modern realism, held the view that the desire for happiness and the desire to know (curiosity) were widespread throughout mankind. Locke stipulat- ed the human mind could encompass as much as was necessary for happiness; it is capable of knowing a very great deal. He traced the ori- gin of ideas to thought where all knowledge is acquired from sources independent of the mind. He believed that all ideas are developed from experience by sensation and reflection. He concluded that what is known is what is experienced. Herbert Spencer. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was one of the first in- dividuals to propose a scheme for selecting the subject matter best suit- ed to the needs of the pupils. He promoted that knowledge, contribut- ing to self-preservation, was of the utmost usefulness and should ap- pear first among the things taught to children. e. Implications for Education Given the character of American education, it is important for teachers to understand what kind of assumptions lie behind education and edu- cational goals. Therefore, the aim of realistic educational practices is to present material to students so they may become acquainted with the subject matter as a pre-established block of material. Successful learn- ing consists of understanding that material. The teacher with a philoso- phy of realism is science-oriented and is likely to be impersonal and objective rather than rigid and mechanical. Problems are set for the learner to work on individually rather than cooperatively. The learner is not expected to develop a conscience that differentiates right from wrong; instead, the student is guided by the unyielding laws of nature that will apply to social as well as to physical situations. Teaching techniques consist of any approach that most effectively ac- quaints students with what they are to know. However, lectures and textbooks should consist of systematic and well-organized descriptions of subject matter. Field trips are acceptable modes of instruction if they deal with concrete demonstrations and are considered superior to ab- stract study. Discipline is a reasonable balance between control and freedom. Be- cause the laws of nature are considered inflexible, a lack of discipline would be expected to result in disorientation in adult life. Evaluation should be as objective as possible and should represent an accurate measure of achievement. Achievement is therefore determined
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 119 by comparing evidences of what has been learned with what should have been learned. Students who have learned the most material with the fewest errors receive the highest grades. Realism is a critical philosophy limited to precise scholars. In imple- mentation, it exists principally in research studies in higher education but it has had an indirect influence on the public school system. Perma- nent elements of human experience are valued but there is a continuous reexamination of evidence using the scientific method. There is insis- tence on examinations that are pertinent, authentic, and comprehensive. Realism is used for the view that objects exist externally to us and in- dependently of our senses. Realism is primarily an attitude toward knowledge. Against skepticism, realism affirms the existence of knowl- edge and holds the object of knowledge has a reality independent of the knowing mind. In general, the claim that perceiving is thus genuine and amounts to knowledge is said to be the best hypothesis to explain the order and na- ture of our sense experiences. The claim of the realist is simply that once ordinary errors and illusions are ruled out by comparing the evi- dence of different senses or of different persons, the simplest explana- tion of the situation is there are external objects causing the sense data or contents. The process then is to correspond to them in primary quan- tities. In one common-sense theory of realism, one kicks a stone to prove that matter exists. One can come to know the world by observation and comparison.9. The Basic Philosophy of Pragmatism. Pragmatism comes from the Greek word for action, also the root for the words practical and practice. Many ancient philosophers used part of the pragmatist’s philosophy but its modern and full origin and development can be traced to Charles Peirce. Peirce believed that pragmatic beliefs are really rules for action and that to develop a thought’s meaning need only to determine the conduct to be produced. Pragmatism, therefore, represents the empirical attitude in philosophy. Ev- erywhere pragmatism is said to unstiffen all our theories, limber them up and set them at work. Pragmatists believe that ideas (which themselves are but parts of our experience) become true in order to get into satisfactory relations with other parts of our experience. In practice, pragmatism was introduced into philosophy as a method of as- certaining the purpose of hard words and abstract conceptions and inter-
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 120 pretation of intellectual concepts that hinge on reasoning. Pragmatism may also be explained as a returning to things past. The history of this philoso- phy is primarily a gathering of truths discarded at some point in the past. a. Free Will and Determinism Most people who believe in free will do so after the rationalistic fash- ion. It is a principle by which dignity is enigmatically augmented. For this reason, pragmatists believe that individual men originate nothing but merely transmit to the future the whole push of the past cosmos of which they are so small an expression. Pragmatists have long disagreed over the free will/determinism contro- versy. William James, a famous pragmatist, promoted the concept of free will and a reality of that freedom. He maintained that a human’s role was not merely to measure so completely but to create and recreate based on experiences from the past. James believed the universe is not an absolute; it is open, and it is full of novelty; it contains chaos, disor- der, and evil. Life as it comes has an air of being. Humans do not mere- ly reflect on a finished product; they register the truth they help to cre- ate. Later in life, James’ view of free will mellowed and, with this changing view, the complexion of pragmatists also changed. Free will is now held by contemporary pragmatists as a staid belief. However, pragma- tists are nevertheless capable of the kind of interaction with the world that changes the direction of events and determines future direction without effecting any essential change in their beliefs. b. Major Contributors to Pragmatism William James. Most scholars have given Charles S. Peirce the dis- tinction of illuminating pragmatic ideals although he was heavily influ- enced by the writings of William James. Peirce had a background in math, chemistry, and theoretical sciences, and wrote as a logician. For Peirce, the pragmatism was primarily a method for analysis and ex- planation of the meaning of intellectual concepts. He once character- ized pragmatism’s maxim as the “definition of definitions.” It was in- tended as a procedure for promoting linguistic and conceptual clarity and successful communication when one was seeking the resolution of intellectual problems. Peirce’s pragmatism then may be thought of as a theory of meaning rather than a theory of truth. It is to be understood as a regulative idea, one that functions solely to order, integrate, and pro- mote inquiry.
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 121William James, a psychologist, was probably the man most responsiblefor influencing the writings of Peirce. Though James never took publiccredit for the establishment of pragmatism, he did write that pragma-tism was the only philosophy with no humbug in it.From his summer home in New Hampshire, William James wrote thathe was unfit to be a philosopher because at the bottom he hated philos-ophy. This seemed ironic coming from a man classified as making agreat impact in philosophy.William James was born in 1842, the son of Henry and Mary WalshJames. William was faced with much sickness throughout his youthand early adulthood. He developed a nervous instability (neurasthenia)that was a deep-rooted depression. This condition delayed his choice ofcareers until his mid-20s. Another reason for his career being delayedwas that he had a great interest in painting; however, his father did notwant a painting career for his son. Therefore, in 1864, James enteredHarvard Medical School.In 1875, James taught his first class in psychology and this began animportant transition in his life. Once this began, it was not long beforeJames quit the medical profession and his teaching in the medical area.He became totally devoted to his writing and lecturing on psychologyand philosophy.Much in the 20th century history of psychology in America has beencolored and shaped by the wisdom of William James. Few are the fail-ures and frustrations of this same psychology that he did not anticipate.The Principles of Psychology, one of James’ early works, was pub-lished in two volumes in 1890, a dozen years after James had undertak-en the work. One of the interesting features of the book is that it dealswith many fundamental philosophical problems. Its chapters cover is-sues concerning the nature of consciousness and reason, the debate be-tween freedom and determinism, the relation of the mind and the bodyand “necessary truths.” In this book, James pushes psychology towardthe goal of making it a natural science, but however fails to recognizethat psychology and philosophy stand close together with respect to theproblem they treat.James and his Principles did not found American psychology in thesense of inventing a new method or uncovering a basic law. Rather, hisworks and ways saved academic psychology from sinking to the merebusy-work of the laboratory or rising so high toward metaphysics as toabandon its proper subject.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 122 Throughout his life, James was an empiricist, a believer in experience as the basic source of knowledge. James’ version of empiricism, that he sometimes called radical empiricism, urged us to start with experiences that humans feel and live through rather than immediately fitting these experiences into theories and frameworks that we have developed in advance. Although James thought of himself as an empiricist, he also wanted to combine empiricism and spiritualism. By uniting empiricism and spiri- tualism, James developed a pragmatic philosophy that he believed was just a new way of stating old ideas. James believed that a pragmatist was willing to follow logic or the senses, and to learn from the most personal and humblest experiences. James stressed that pragmatism was a broad philosophical view that stressed pluralism, freedom, and change. This is not any radical shift of James’ interest in thinking; it is a natural and a logical extension of his earlier philosophical/psychological views. James’ philosophy can be related to his reverence for, and his faith in, the individual. The pragmatism lectures, given first as the Lowell Lec- tures in Boston and then again at Columbia, surprised James by their reception. He became nearly a cult figure to his eager young audience at Columbia, as he had for some time been a father figure to leaders of thought on both sides of the Atlantic. During the years 1900 to 1914, much criticism and change was brought about. It was a time where a widespread and remarkably good-natured effort of the greater part of society was undertaken to achieve some vague and unclear self-reformation. During this era of self-reformation, James printed his lectures of Pragmatism. This philosophy expanded the so-called progressive movement. It assured humans of options and gave mankind a formula to evaluate effectiveness of actions. For James and for Americans of generations before and after him, the relativism suggested by pragmatism meant that humans could get better. Through all of his writings, one must realize the importance of William James to American psychology and philosophy. It may be said that he did not invent or discover some great principle, but permitted the world to achieve a goal more quickly or effectively. However, he provided the boundaries of thought and supplied the terms that an entire genera- tion would discuss and understand as a way of life. James argued that the knower was an actor, and in certain ways, played a role in creating truth. James was not merely advancing empty theo-
CHAPTER 3–PHILOSOPHIES OF SCHOOLING PAGE 123ries; he was arguing from the depths of his own personal experiencesand suffering. He made it clear that pragmatism was a theory of truth,as well as a theory of meaning.Oliver Wendell Holmes. Oliver Wendell Holmes was considered oneof the most important practitioners of pragmatism in law. Holmes de-fined not only legal concepts, but also law itself stemming from theneed under pressure of which both prediction theory of law and prag-matism took form. Holmes’ philosophy is considered pragmatic be-cause he regarded the history and the theory of the law as instrumentalin understanding and revising it as an evolving institution. Of all the in-dividuals who may be termed pragmatists, Holmes alone has recog-nized the use of force and power involved in pragmatism as only he ac-cepted an institutional position of power.John Dewey. John Dewey also promoted the pragmatic point of view.His version differed somewhat from Peirce’s, and was similar in manyrespects to James’. Dewey often spoke of using intelligence as an in-strument (instrumentalism) to overcome certain physical and social sit-uations that called for a series of new responses.John Dewey was one of the most influential of all American philoso-phers and educators. He was actively interested in the reform of educa-tion, both theoretically and practically. In his book, Experiences andEducation (1939), Dewey addressed educational issues that are still ofvital relevance and importance to educators today.Dewey’s philosophy of education, often labeled as experimentalism orinstrumentalism, emphasized many things including experiences, ex-perimentation, and freedom. Dewey believed the learner must interactwith that which is learned if a productive educational experience was tobe achieved. Though Dewey believed that all genuine education camethrough experience, he also pointed out that experience may be mised-ucation. He therefore suggested that teachers should carefully defineeducational objectives and desired outcomes using experience as a con-structive learning instrument.The idea that every experience is seen as a moving force that will ulti-mately impact upon future experiences is the key factor in Dewey’s ed-ucational philosophy. Even an individual’s knowledge of the conse-quences is based on previous experience. Dewey believed that no expe-rience lives or dies to itself. Regardless of desire or intent, Dewey be-lieved that every experience lived on in further experiences. The teach-er, as an agent through which knowledge is communicated, shoulddraw upon these experiences in a framework or foundation for learn-