UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The leading principles of philosophy of education Daniels, LeRoi B.

Abstract

What are and what should be the leading principles of method of philosophy of education? Traditionally, it has been claimed that the leading principle consists of the deduction of statements about education from statements in "regular" philosophy. It has further been claimed that differing statements about education differ because they have been deduced from different positions in regular philosophy. These claims are analyzed by applying some tools of modern philosophical analysis to the works of four selected reputable philosophers of education who are assumed to "represent" three of the chief modern "schools" of philosophy of education. This analysis reveals that the traditional characterization of the leading principles of method is at best very misleading. It reveals in fact that the leading principles of the Idealists and Realists are more accurately described as "pseudo-science" in which explanatory systems are devised by selecting statements about empirical facts or states-of-affairs and encrusting the system with terms which are metaphysical, synonymous and without empirical meaning. It further reveals that the writings of philosophers of education are also encrusted with ethical terms which have dominantly emotive meanings. The leading principles of the Instrumentalists are shown to be somewhat closer to those of the modern analytical philosophers and closer to the best of traditional regular philosophy. In conclusion, it is asserted that philosophy of education should in future have two leading principles: 1. The academic exercise of analyzing the writings of traditional philosophers of education using the tools of philosophical analysis. 2. The application of some or all of the techniques of philosophical analysis to empirical theories about education, such as learning theories.

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