Talk:Philosophy of education

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Philosophy of education:

List the priority tasks needed to improve this article.

  1. Too much space dedicated to some/many of the people mentioned in the article, especially when/if there is a wikilink to a main article on said person/s. Content in this article should be a summary of what is developed elsewhere. (See "Meatball Surgery" below).
  2. decide what to do with idealism, realism, pragmatism, existentialism, objectivism, Marxism, postmodernism, Cognitivism, and Humanism
  3. develop list of missing philosophers
  4. move theorists to Education Theory
  5. move educational movements to correct division: Behaviorism (philosophy of education), Cognitivism (philosophy of education), Humanism (philosophy of education), and Constructivism (philosophy of education)
  6. Fix the Plato section, as specified in the comments below The section on Plato is terrible: it equates the speculations of the Republic with a polished, finalized idea. Any time after 28 February 2008, merge in the Education theory article if there are no critical responses. (Objection. See below discussion).
  7. Someone suggested that we add a description of the "philosophy of education based on analytical school of philosophy". If someone knows what that's about, feel free.
  8. The lead needs a major re-write as per Wikipedia:Lead section.
  9. The Wikipedia article on this subject should include at least all the educators mentioned in the UNESCO-IBE profiles
  10. move Essentialism, Progressivism, Perennialism, Existentialism to Epistemology
  11. Complete redline articles linked to this page.
  12. Check citations

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/Archive 1


I thought that I could begin work on the missing philosophers. I can do those in my 'sandbox' so that it does not interfer . . . this page is very much improved . . . Face-smile.svgStmullin (talk) 23:16, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I was just thinking about this section. I wonder if it makes sense to organize this page in some other way than just a list of educational philosophers. Is that really the best way to communicate the landscape of the field? For example, take a look at Philosophy of law, philosophy of science or philosophy of history. It seems to me more sensible to talk about these philosophers within the context of something else. One idea I had was to present the philosophical treatment of education by schools of thought. However, I tried to structure the page like that before, and it seems that didn't go over well. We might also distinguish education as a broad process (e.g., Bildung) and the narrow form which takes place specifically in a school. Any ideas?--Lhakthong (talk) 01:57, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Though It would be good to counterbalance the list with more context, Tertiary sources indicate that this field is less well structured, or even coherent, than other areas of philosophy. I can imagine this being in the form of a history of inluences and trends. hgilbert (talk) 05:30, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
It is less structured but not entirely unstructured. Both Noddings's Philosophy of Education and Gutek's Philosophical and Ideological Voices in Education explain philosophical influences on education by types of philosophy/philosophical schools of thought. The Stanfrod article provides some categories, and I am sure there are other themes we could find that are listed in tertiary sources, if that's how we want to categorize. So, that work has already been done in tertiary sources--at least in defining some organizing categories. Finding secondary sources to illustrate the different ways philosophy has influenced education from within those categories would be the real challenge, I think.--Lhakthong (talk) 14:52, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Seven sages of Greece[edit]

This section seems to have nothing to do with the philosophy of education. Is there some reason it belongs in this article? HGilbert (talk) 20:51, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

The Seven Greek Sages predate Socrates and show the line back to ancient Egypt for philosophy of education, specifically, math and geometry education. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I don't see how that illuminates ideas, concepts, theories, etc. in philosophy of education. If you have information to share about the specifics of the educational philosophical ideas of these new thinkers, then that would be relevant for this page. As it stands, I say the section doesn't belong here.--Lhakthong (talk) 03:15, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
The concept of higher education for an adult that derives from a relationship with a mentor, the idea that education is a hands-on experience, and the mathematical theorems generated from these experiences are relevant. This is consistent with Constructivist perspective and highly relevant to the philosophy of adult education. Stmullin (talk) 13:25, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Lhakthong, I know that your writing skills are strong, please edit the passage to your standards with the understanding that constructivist philosophy is important to educators, especially in adult education. Stmullin (talk) 13:58, 29 January 2014 (UTC):::
My point is that what should go here are the specific educational philosophies of thinkers like Thales, Solon, etc. If we don't know what those philosophies are, then we should not be mentioning those people in an article that outlines the educational philosophies of certain thinkers.--Lhakthong (talk) 16:59, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I've omitted all but the information on Thales. (talk) 17:09, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Lhakthong that only educational philosophies are relevant here. It is not a place for biographies of any figure, and certainly not one that has no educational philosophy. I see nothing in the entire section as currently written that falls under the topic of the philosophy of education. HGilbert (talk) 21:15, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Thales of Miletus (/ˈθeɪliːz/; Greek: Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), Thalēs; c. 624 – c. 546 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who:

1. was one of the 'great teachers,'

2. received higher education from a priest of Egypt as well as travels with Solon [Constructivist philosophy of adult education],

3. is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry by deriving four corollaries to Thales' Theorem [In the philosophy of mathematics, constructivism asserts that it is necessary to find or "construct" a mathematical object to prove that it exists.],

4 has been hailed as the first true mathematician and is the first known individual to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed,

5. used deductive reasoning rather than inductive reasoning, and

6. derived conclusions from definitions and axioms using mathematical rigor for proofs . . .

are all evidence of Thales importance to the Philosophy of education . . . if my wording is not clear, you are welcome to edit using words that have more meaning to you . . . but Thales is a significant philosopher of education. Stmullin (talk) 21:34, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

These are all interesting things, but none of them directly relates to education. Just because we teach mathematics and deductive reasoning, does not mean someone who developed mathematics and deductive reasoning has contributed to the philosophy of education. We also teach geology and biology, but Lyell and Darwin were not philosophers of education and do not belong here.
Similarly, that someone was a great teacher does not mean that that person is a philosopher of education. HGilbert (talk) 00:47, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

This philosopher lived 2538 years before the vocabulary you insist upon using was developed. You are applying an early 20th century vocabulary/understanding to something that is far greater than the scope of a 20th century education in Philosophy. All 6 elements that I named have significant connection to philosophy as well as to education. As new evidence is unearthed and published, we must remain open to correcting false and limited views of the past especially where education is concerned. I will invite others to comment. Thales is evidence of constructivist teaching method in early Greece which shows that even early scientists and mathematicians knew the importance of hands on teaching and life long education. I understand why a stringent behaviorist would reject this opposing view . . . but all view points must be represented. 00:35, 31 January 2014 (UTC)Stmullin (talk) 03:56, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

What you are advocating sounds like original research, and we should not be publishing original thought. We would need to find verifiable, reliable sources that specifically state the influence of these thinkers on educational philosophical thought.--Lhakthong (talk) 15:08, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Why would you consider these ORIGINAL Research? Eudemus ap. Proclus, 65.7 Diogenes Laertius I.24 Diogenes Laertius I.27 and Plutarch (De Is. et Os. 131) Hdt. II.178; Stobaeus, Ecl., jEklogaiv ['Selections'] Strab. 17.1.18 Contra Apionem I.2 Hdt. I.30 Diogenes Laertius I.43-44 Retrieved 28 January 2014 from Boyer 1991, "Ionia and the Pythagoreans" p. 43 Stmullin (talk) 15:33, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Rs#Scholarship: Secondary sources are preferred, especially for claims such as you are making. Note that none of the above, primary sources suggested that they were doing the philosophy of education. If no one since has suggested it either (in a scholarly work), there's no basis for their inclusion here. HGilbert (talk) 16:51, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Those sources are secondary sources referenced in other Wikipedia articles. What is your true reason for questioning Thales? Stmullin (talk) 17:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
If you can't provide explicit sources that link those writing to the modern concept of "philosophy of education" as described in this article then yes, that is original research to make that link yourself. If there is such a clear and undisputed link as you seem to be claiming then it shouldn't be very hard to provide references that explicitly support that claim, right? ElKevbo (talk) 17:34, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
There is nothing in the article to restrict discussion to "modern" and if there was such a restiction then the terms Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Humanism, and Constructivism would be the discussion headers . . . because those are the "modern" philosophies of education.Stmullin (talk) 18:01, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
There is much evidence that Thales was an educator who taught philosophy. This qualifies him for a history of philosophy teachers, but not for an article on the philosophy of education. HGilbert (talk) 21:29, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Eight secondary sources were carefully cited . . . I suppose if any of us could read Ancient Greek or had access to the tablets we could argue about syntax . . . but that being unlikely (proficiency in Ancient Greek as well as access to the tablets) the best we can hope for is to share the knowledge in a proactive way. It would be a shame to deprive access to this valuable information about the earliest Greek philosopher of education just because we do not approve of the syntax.Stmullin (talk) 00:18, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Can you recognize that other editors are not convinced, and gracefully accept the consensus that the material as currently presented, and absent any support from other interpreters of classical philosophy, does not belong here? HGilbert (talk) 12:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
WE disagree.


Aristotle, An. Post., Analytica Posteriora; Cael., De Caelo; De An., De Anima; Gen An., De Generatione Animalium; Hist. An., Historia Animalium; Metaph., Metaphysics; Pol., Politics; Hist. An.; Historia Animalium

Cicero, Rep., De Republica; Nat. D., De Natura Deorum

D.L., Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

Epicurus, ap.Censorinus, D.N.; Censorinus, De die natali

Ovid,Met., Metamorphoses

Plutarch,Plut. De Is. et Os., De Iside et Osiride; De Pyth. or., De Pythiae oraculis; Conv. sept. sap., Convivium septem sapientium, [The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men];; Vit. Sol., Vitae Parallelae, Solon

Pliny (the Elder), HN: Naturalis Historia

Pliny (the Younger), Ep: Epistulae

Ps.-Plutarch, Epit;Pseudo-Plutarch, Epitome

Seneca, QNat., Quaestiones Naturales

Stobaeus, Ecl., jEklogaiv ['Selections']

RfC: Is Thales a philosopher of education?[edit]

Should Thales be included as a philosopher of education? Stmullin (talk) 17:39, 5 February 2014 (UTC)


What is the state of opinion on the section on Thales? Please vote, with any possible reflections below. (See Seven sages of Greece for background discussion) HGilbert (talk) 14:39, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Keep
Keep due to the significant, well cited contributions of Thales of Miletus to the the Academy of Athens as a philosopher of education with significant contributions to mathematics and deductive reasoning. Stmullin (talk) 00:12, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove
Remove due to irrelevance to topic HGilbert (talk) 14:41, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Remove, original research and lack of relevance to the specific topic of this article.--Lhakthong (talk) 17:56, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Remove pending relevant, convincing evidence establishing these as being linked to the topic of this article. ElKevbo (talk) 01:08, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Thales discussion[edit]

Please watch out for users who may have been canvassed here: I was left this note on my talk page, and Stmullin canvassed others here, here and here. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 10:47, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

This is allowed . . . Notes are on the user talk pages of concerned editors. Examples include:

   Editors who have participated in previous discussions on the same topic (or closely related topics)
   Editors known for expertise in the field   

Stmullin (talk) 12:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

WP:CANVASS says that "Notifications must be...neutrally worded with a neutral title" and specifically bans promoting a particular point of view ("campaigning") in the canvassing. Your asking for "support" clearly violates this principle. I will assume that you were not aware of this, but please respect it in the future. HGilbert (talk) 12:35, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I have used a strike prompt to neutrally word the invitation.Stmullin (talk) 14:14, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
It's usually best to stick to leaving notices at places like WikiProjects, as it's a lot harder to violate WP:CANVASS that way. Probably WT:WikiProject Philosophy and WT:WikiProject Education would be your best bets. For what it's worth, I don't think I fall into either category you mention in your 12:22 post above. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 14:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Thank you Mr. Stradivarius, your name is on my User talk page for help so I contacted you. I hope I added the RfC correctly . . . this is a first so I'm not clear about the process. Also, when my smart phone syncs with my computer I get unexpected results with the browser so my posts are interrupted and my log disrupted . . . I apologize for that confusion but i do not yet know how to schedule the sync so it will not interfere.Stmullin (talk) 17:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

If someone can rewrite the section on Historical and theoretical roots to read like an encyclopedic article then I think this format might be a good compromise. It does get rid of the biography issue that caused concern from many editors in an earlier discussion.Stmullin (talk) 19:33, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Change of format[edit]

The recent change of format removed the list of philosophers from the table of contents, where it helpfully linked to the article's discussion of these, and replaced this with a section that consisted merely of a list of links to articles. Why have a section on e.g. Piaget in this article, if the reader first encounters a page of links that will bring her away from this article to a different one?

The previous format was better: the reader would first encounter a brief biography of each philosopher of education in this article, which contained a link to the main article. The table of contents made it easy to navigate these and to see who was covered. I have reverted to this.

Also: in the opening section there were many references that were not really educational philosophies (Marxism??) and there were three independent long list of kinds of philosophy of education without differentiation. I merged these into a single list; if there are any important ones that went missing, feel free to add these back. (But please ensure that they really are significant to the philosophy of education.) HGilbert (talk) 00:48, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

The reverts need to stop if we are to achieve Good Article Status. I've added Thales to the see also list as a compromise though that should have gone to arbitration when the 30 day posting was violated. According to Delphi theory it takes 35 experts to agree before a generalization can be made. We have two maybe three experts working on this article, which is not 35. Truth is not subject to democratic process. I can not support a lie but I can compromise and support links that lead to truth. Stmullin (talk) 03:08, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Thales in the see also list looks good.
I have removed the bit about normative theories; this said nothing new, but said it confusingly. Any philosophy can be normative, and most are. As a general point relevant to philosophy, it should be included in that article, rather than here. If it is felt that something needs to be said along these lines, it should be done with a minimum of jargon and effectively. HGilbert (talk) 12:55, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
EXCELLENT!!!Stmullin (talk) 17:26, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Completing a Redline topic(s)[edit]

I found this online:

Social reconstructionism & Education [1] [copyright content from removed]

I am not familiar with this perspective so if someone (who knows how to defend the information) can complete the redline article that would help to give clarity to philosophy of education.Stmullin (talk) 15:27, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

I've created a stub for that article if anyone wants to work on that for awhile. Stmullin (talk) 14:15, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Sociological Perspective[edit]

Philosophical and sociological perspectives on social change, influence, equality, etc. are of course related, although whether that means sociology deserves direct reference (for indirect relationship) I'm not sure. In any case, philosophy should obviously be there, psychology has a reference, I think the addition of sociology should include a good reference (a review maybe?) which indicates the relationship between soc & phil of education.

. . . so where do we include a good reference,a review, which indicates the relationship between soc & phil of education . . . Stmullin (talk) 18:46, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

At the end of the sentence as usual...... Sjgknight (talk) 19:16, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
. . . so all that you are looking for is a citation or quote, not a summary?Stmullin (talk) 23:00, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Social Reconstruction by Jeffrey D. Zacko-Smith. Retrieved 14 February 2014 from

Possible copyright problem[edit]

This article has been revised as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 21:51, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

The material removed contained copyright text from and probably from other sources also. I regret that valid good-faith edits made by other editors may need to be redone. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 21:51, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Redirect and general confusion[edit]

Researching "Spiral Curriculum" I've been diverted here and yet this is covered by just one sentence. Was the original article so sparse? The "main article" cited is to a biography! Noting that "theorists" had all been moved to "Educational theory" I went to look before realizing the blindingly obvious: what is the difference between "educational theory" and "educational philosophy"?! Rehetorical question I think as in practical terms I can see none. Consider the intro to the former: "Education theory seeks to know, understand and prescribe educational practices. Education theory includes many topics, such as pedagogy, andragogy, curriculum, learning, and education policy, organization and leadership. Educational thought is informed by many disciplines, such as history, philosophy, sociology, and psychology." and it's hard to slip even a ciggie paper between the two. Reading this the "theory" is expressed in the language of beliefs i.e of philosophy.

Bottom line: What is the point of redirecting a reader to nothingness? What is the point in hiding an existing resource behind one which has nothing to say on the matter? LookingGlass (talk) 13:45, 10 October 2014 (UTC)