Philosophical Basis of Education

Topics: Philosophy, Education, Meaning of life Pages: 19 (6018 words) Published: April 15, 2011

In this unit we will discuss the inter-dependence of philosophy and education. After discussing the impact of philosophy on education and vice-versa, we will describe briefly the different schools of philosophy viz. Naturalism, Idealism and Pragmatism, and their implications for education in curriculum, role of the teacher and the nature of discipline. While explaining the ideas advocated by different schools of philosophy on above concepts, this unit will also incorporate the views of both Western as well as Indian thinkers.


The inter-dependence of philosophy and education is clearly seen from the fact that the great philosphers of all times have also been great educators and their philosophy is reflected in their educational systems. This inter-dependence can be better understood by analysing the implications of philosophical principles in the field of education. Before analysing the educational implications of general philosophy, we should know the concept of "Philosophy" and "Education". Each one of us has a personal philosophy which we apply consciously and unconsciously in our daily life. Each philosophy reflects a unique view of what is good and what is important. In this sense, philosophy is the system of beliefs about life. The literal meaning of philosophy is the love of wisdom which is derived from the Greek word "Philos" (Love) and Sophia (Wisdom). Wisdom does not merely mean knowledge. It is a continuous seeking of insight into basic realities - the physical world, life, mind, society, knowledge and values.

Education does not mean mere schooling. To become educated is to learn to become a person. Etymologically, 'educahon' is derived from "educare" which means 'to lead out' or "to draw out'. In a broad sense, education refers to an act or experience that has a formative effect on the ming, character or physical ability of an individual. %cation in this sense never ends, we truly learn from experience throughout our lives. Education and philosophy are inseparable because the ends of education are the ends of philosophy i.e., wisdom; and the means of philosophy is the means of education i.e. inquiry, which alone can lead to wisdom. Any sepatation of philosophy and education inhibits inquiry and frustrates wisdom.

Education involves both the world of ideas and the world af practical activity; good ideas can lead to good practice and good practices reinforce good ideas. In order ro behave intelligently in the educational process, education needs direction and guidance which philosophy can provide. Hence philosophy is not only a professional tool for the educator but also a way of improving the quality of life because it helps us to gain a wider and deeper perspective on human existence and the world around us.

The chief task of philosophy is to determine what constitutes good life whereas the main task of education is how to make life worth living. So philosophy and education are mutually re-constructive. They give and take from each other. Philosophy deals with the goals and essentials of good life while education provides the means to achieve those goals of good life. In this sense philosophy of education is a distinct but not a separate discipline. It takes its contents from education and its methods from philosophy. The process of philosophizing about education requires an understanding of education and its problems. Hence, we can say that philosophy of education is the application of philosophical ideas to educational problems. It is not only a way of looking at ideas but also of how to use them in the best way. Therefore, it can be said that philosophy is the theory while education is the practice. Practice unguided by theory is aimless, inconsistent and inefficient just as theory which is not ultimately translatable into practice is useless and confusing. In the words of Ross "philosophy is the contemplative side while...
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