There are unmistakable signs that the philosophy of education has entered an era of renewed vigor and excellence. This book--Philosophy of Education: Essays and Commentaries--is one of these signs.
I cannot but be impressed with how well students will fare with these essays. Each of the four parts of the book has full, scholarly, but not overwhelming, introductions uniformly written with awareness of the history of the ideas under review. For the student, this means that although he is treated to a first-rate introduction to the most recent development in philosophy--Logical Empiricism--he will not have been led to think of the history of philosophy as a tediously enduring wasteland. In addition, Professors Burns and Brauner frequently provide him with a précis of every important point in an essay.
The craftsmanship is expert; the skill in organization and presentation will appeal to the professional. Equally attractive is the fairness maintained throughout. To sense this fairness, one has only to read through Part II of the book where metaphysics is treated to the lion's share of the section. The editors themselves may feel more at home in Logical Empiricism, but this has not stayed them from honoring, by adequate review, the classic stances of metaphysics.
Craftsmanship is further attested by the design of the book. The section on ethics in Part II is an illustration. In the first place, Burns and Brauner have not represented Idealistic ethics by an essay whose language and examples date is as "old" and, for the young student, therefore, out-of-date. Nor has their sample of Idealistic thought on ethics been written by someone clearly out of touch and out of sympathy with modern social science. J. Donald Butler "The Role of Value Theory in Education" is elected. Butler has not written simply as an Idealist. Like Burns and Brauner, Butler is aware of the several views an able, contemporary philosopher can hold. His essay is a sample of both an Idealistic approach and a skillful philosophic analysis. So, too, in rounding out the section on ethics with the classic statement of John Dewey in "Theory of Valuation" and of Charles L. Stevenson in "The Nature of Ethical Disagreement," the editors have coupled the presentation of two noted moderns, the one as much as the other manifestly