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Topic: 001 – Philosophies of Education

In this topic, we will be studying the philosophical ideas and underpinnings behind the subject of education. To understand the relationship between philosophy and education, it is important to understand what philosophy is?
Philosophy is a combination of two Greek words ‘Philo’ meaning love and ‘Sophia’ meaning wisdom. So, love for wisdom is the meaning of philosophy.
Educational Philosophy:
The philosophical study of education and its problems … its central subject matter is education, and its methods are those of philosophy.
Branches of Philosophy: There are three main branches of philosophy,
Metaphysics: is the study of ultimate nature of reality. For instance, God exists or not? What is truth? What is permanent?
Epistemology: is the study of knowledge. For instance, what should be taught? Why it should be taught? Who should teach?
Axiology: is the study of values. Values in terms of society, politics and aesthetics
Philosophy says that there is a need for variety of views in a Pluralistic Society. So, different philosophical approaches take place in a society. There are some general World Philosophies (Metaphysical Philosophies)
Idealism: Idealists are people who follow idealism beliefs that Ideas are the only true reality.
Realism: Realists believe that reality exists independent of human mind.
Pragmatism: Pragmatists believe that reality is actually what is experienced is subjective and is also changing.
Existentialism: Existentialists believe that reality exists inside the humans. There is no meaning of the outside world without its meaning being constructed inside the humans.

Topic: 002 – Philosophy & Education (Three Dimensions)
Importance of Philosophy in Education:
Both associated with teaching, learning and discovery.
Educational developments due to contributions of philosophers.

Value-Driven curriculum
The content or the curriculum is comprised of the knowledge or skills that are most valuable in a society.

Teaching Methodology
The teaching philosophy is as important as the content of what is to be taught.
For teachers, not only the content but also the teaching philosophy that they are holding on to or the way they impart knowledge to students is also important. To have an understanding of what is best, we need to understand the philosophical underpinnings behind our own styles of teaching.

Topic: 003 – Socrates
Socrates was born in 469 BC and died in 399 BC.
He was a Greek philosopher and teacher.
Socrates agreeing with Plato in his book ‘Apology’ says
“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”
The above quotation shows that his methods are analytical, and are based on the analysis of human being. So, he generally analysed his fellow Athenians and then tried understanding the concepts in the society and also have been telling others what is right and what is wrong?
He is known as the father of philosophy
His method was the use of critical reasoning, with an unwavering comment to truth.
No written records by Socrates himself.
His two students Plato and Xenophon have quoted his methods and analysis.
Goal of Education:
To know what you can, and even more importantly, to know what you do not know.
Trial of Socrates
“The Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David. He was given poison at the end of his life because people thought that he is spoiling the youth with his philosophy.

Topic: 004 – Socrates: Theory of Value
As told by Plato and Xenophon, Socrates has contributed towards society and education by giving us different theories.
Theory of Value
Socrates believed that knowledge and skills are of two types:
Trivial knowledge: The word ‘trivial’ means unimportant. Socrates believed that almost everyone possesses this knowledge.
Important knowledge: Skills and crafts possessed by craftsmen.
But then Socrates also believed that this knowledge is not the ultimate knowledge. Ultimate knowledge is:
One should learn the best way to live one’s life.
The most valuable skills and knowledge for an individual would vary from person to person.
Most people live in shameful ignorance regarding matters of ethics and morals.

Topic: 005 – Socrates: Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge
According to this theory, there is a type of knowledge known as ordinary knowledge.
Specific and ordinary information
Does not give the possessor of the knowledge any expertise or wisdom worth mentioning.
Definitional or Higher Knowledge:
Defining words and concepts
Concepts of beliefs, use of logic
Wisdom and goodness of gods is derived from human logic & natural scepticism.
Discovering the truth:
An individual who would discover the truth and the goodness in it will live his/her life accordingly.
Evil only comes from ignorance.
Knowledge and Virtue:
Knowledge and virtue are closely related. With true knowledge comes virtue.

Topic: 006 – Socrates: Theory of Human Nature
Human Nature: the inner self is divine & cannot die. Knowledge is eternal.
Root of moral evil:
Ignorance: Socrates believed that the root of moral evil is ignorance. Through ignorance, humans can misplace or loose knowledge.
Since humans have the ability to ‘know’ or to rediscover the knowledge, it is up to them to either remain ignorant or to search for the truth.
Human mind has indefinite potential. It is only natural that man would want to know more because once an individual gets onto the path of discovery, there is no end.

Topic: 007 – Socrates: Theory of Learning
Learning: According to Socrates, learning means,
Seeking the truth in matters through questioning and interpreting the wisdom and knowledge of others.
The Learning process:
Skills and knowledge are acquired by:
Interpreting the statements of others
Testing or examining the knowledge or wisdom of those reputed to be wise.
Showing those who are not wise their ignorance.
Learning from those who are wise.
Examining oneself.
Exhorting others to philosophy.
Examining the lives of others.
Attaining moral knowledge.

Topic: 008 – Socrates: Theory of Transmission
Theory of transmission possesses the first question, that is:
Who Should Teach?
No one person or authority is qualified to teach. Wisdom does not lie within one person, faction or organization.
Socrates’s own teaching style encouraged his pupils to share their knowledge and wisdom.
Socratic Method:
The teacher teaches by posing leading questions allowing the pupils to discuss and share for the sake of knowledge creation, rather than knowledge transfer.
The Socratic Method’s content revolved around real life stories and experiences, allowing the pupils to make their own deductions by discussing the issues and popular opinions of the society.
Socrates was usually to be found in the marketplace and other public areas, covering with a variety of different people.

Topic: 009 – Socrates: Theory of Society
Society: According to Socrates,
Purpose of society: is
Individuals are not self-sufficient.
Societies give rise to class systems
Society exists to provide best life for individuals (Athenian Aristocratic Society)
Social Institutions Involved in the Education Process:
In Ancient Greece, formal education was offered only to the privileged and took place in magnificent buildings like the Parthenon and Hephaisteion.
Socrates believed education takes place everywhere at all times.

Topic: 010 – Socrates: Theory of Opportunity
Socrates also has talked about opportunity for all, and also in terms of education being given to all. Socrates:
Rejected the elitist mentality of his fellow Athenians.
Rejected the narrow conception of ‘pursuit of knowledge’ that most aristocratic individuals of that time followed.
Equal Opportunities for Education:
Socrates wanted to educate everyone not just the aristocrats
He believed that women’s education was as important as men’s education.

Topic: 011 – Socrates: Theory of Consensus
Where ever there are two or more people, conflict can arise through disagreement over various things of everyday life.
Disagreement rises due to ignorance of the truth.
How is consensus achieved?
Consensus on the important things is only achieved through the search for knowledge and truth, as it is only truth that all can agree upon.

Topic: 012 – Socrates: Impact on Philosophy and Education
Major Contribution to Philosophy:
He redirected inquiries away from the natural sciences and towards the completion of systems of ethics and questions of ethical conduct.
Three Influential Students:
There are three influential students of Socrates who influenced education and also philosophies in general.
They exerted a profound influence on Greek and Roman thought, as well as on modern philosophy.

Modern Philosophy:
Idealized by ‘Utilitarian thinkers’ as a Christ-like martyr. (Utilitarian philosophy in education refers to the idea that education must be for a purpose and utility.)
Treated as ‘Paradigmatic individual’ by the German existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers. (Existentialism is a school of thought/philosophy which is followed by Karl Jaspers who believed that the world is inside of the humans being. Unless the humans don’t understand the inside of the world there is no connection with the outer world.)
Tradition of self-reflection and care of self-initiated by Socrates fascinated Michel Foucault. (Michel Foucault is a French philosopher; he was highly inspired by the self-initiated and self-reflection philosophy of Socrates.)


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