PHIL 301 Intermediate Topics: Philosophy of Education is a survey of prominent perspectives in the history of educational thought from Plato to the present day. The primary task of the course is to develop one’s own philosophy of education based on what we learn from the readings as well as from each other in class discussions.
The structure of the course follows, more or less, the three principal subject matters of philosophy. In the first unit, we will discuss educational metaphysics. Education, in this context, operates primarily as a mechanism geared to the transformation of “social reality”—i.e. surmounting morally suspect political scenarios via pedagogy, curriculum, and policy. The second unit focuses on epistemology, and here we’ll discuss the nature of learning, empiricism in the classroom, and the perils of indoctrination, among other things. In the final unit, the focus will be ethics construed broadly as the investigation of the good life and how we treat others. In particular, we’ll address the role education plays specifically in the pursuit happiness and being a good person.
The reading load will be reasonable, often no more than thirty pages per week. There will be writing assignments for most every class which, on the whole, are meant to culminate in a written statement of your philosophy of education. Class time will be spent mostly in small group and whole class discussion (think “seminar” here). There will be occasional lectures as needed, though most of the teaching of the course will take the form of the professor’s and students’ authoritative contributions to class discussion.
TEXT: No Textbook Required – course materials will be available on Canvas.