Philosophy of Education: Essays and Commentaries

By Hobert W. Burns; Charles J. Brauner | Go to book overview

thus related to education in a practical sense--for education, consciously geared to this ideal, becomes the vehicle by which to realize this future. Given this dichotomy, there are two extremes: either education can consist of unguided, habitual behaviors, or it can be an education which is deliberately guided by philosophy. Dewey, of course, elects the latter course of action and the logic of his argument is simple: human dispositions lead to interests; interests lead to the formulation of purposes; purposes lead to efforts; efforts lead to certain socio-individual consequences (the nature of which depend upon the initial dispositions); and education is the process by which these initial dispositions are formed.

Thus Dewey functionally links a broadly conceived education with a philosophy grounded in experience. Since, in his words, " . . . education is the process through which the needed [social] transformation may be accomplished," education becomes the translation of philosophy into a deliberately conducted practice.


Philosophy Is the General Theory of Education

John Dewey*

We have to judge every educational institution and practice from the standpoint of that "whole of experience" which calls it into being and controls its purpose and materials. There exist not merely the principles by which the existing system of education is made effective, but also the principles that animate the entire range of interests of the whole life of the community and that make the existing system what it is. An interpretation and valuation of the educational system in the light of this inclusive social context is the larger and more human view of which we spoke. It utilizes the contributions of science in all its branches to give society an insight into what sort of thing it is undertaking in the training of its members, and it gives society a clearer consciousness of the meaning of the educational office so largely performed by instinct and custom.

The connection of education and philosophy is, however, even closer and more vital than this [foregoing] sketch of the principles of education, as distinct from the science of education, would indicate. Philosophy may be defined as the general theory of education; the theory of which education is the corresponding art or practice. Three interlinked considerations support this statement: (i) Men's interests manifest their dispositions; (ii) these dispositions are formed by education; (iii) there must be a general idea of the value and relations of these interests if there is to be any guidance of the proc

____________________
*
Cyclopedia of Education, Paul Monroe (ed.), ( New York: The Macmillan Co., 1913), Vol. IV, pp. 699-700. Reprinted by permission of Ellis Monroe and Jeanette Monroe Bassett.

-22-

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