Education, then, can have no ends beyond itself. Its value derives from principles and standards implicit in it. To be educated is not to have arrived at a destination; it is to travel with a different view. 1
Richard Stanley Peters is the founding father of British philosophy of education as practised in the second half of the twentieth century. He was born in 1919 and educated at Clifton College and Oxford University, where he read classics. During the Second World War he joined the Friends Ambulance Unit and engaged in social relief work. At the end of the war he became a schoolmaster at Sidcot School while studying philosophy part-time at Birkbeck College, London. He was appointed to Birkbeck as lecturer in philosophy, then reader in philosophy and psychology, specializing in ethics, philosophy of mind, political philosophy and the history and philosophy of psychology.
After 1962 these interests bore fruit almost exclusively in the field of philosophy of education. For it was in that year that he was appointed to the post with which he became most closely identified-the Chair of Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. For the next dozen or so years he worked with extraordinary energy to transform the philosophy of education from a minor intellectual interest of a handful of scholars into an influential new sub-discipline of philosophy. In all the developments which followed he was aided by his new colleague and later co-author Paul Hirst. Hundreds of advanced students from Britain and from English-speaking countries across the world participated in the new Diploma and MA courses or embarked on doctorates, before taking posts in colleges or universities in which they would teach the subject in their turn to teachers or trainee-teachers. Peters and Hirst ensured that philosophy of education became a major component, along with other disciplines of education, in British initial teacher education, including the newly created Bachelor of Education courses.
The rapidly growing numbers of trained philosophers of education made it possible for Peters and Hirst to launch the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain in 1964. From 1964 until 1975 Peters was the Chairman of PESGB. From 1966 until 1982 he also edited its annual Proceedings and its successor The Journal of Philosophy of Education. Since 1986 Richard Peters has been President of PESGB.
During these remarkably fertile years, Peters also produced a stream of