Philosophy of Education

EDU2111 Syllabus

David Samuel Meyer

Course Description & Objectives

This course aims to provide a pluralistic introduction to philosophy and education though a broad survey of the diverse philosophical perspectives, problems, and approaches to education and educational research around the world. This survey will not primarily seek to evaluate the truthfulness of each philosophy, but rather to appreciate the vast diversity of thought, meaning, value, and perspective involved in the education of human beings.


Participants will identify their own beliefs, desires, preconceptions, prejudices, etc.


Participants will consider alternative points-of-view and how these problematize their own positions.


Participants will critically evaluate and adapt their own values and perspectives in light of the alternatives studied in this course.


Participants will become familiarized with the main currents in world philosophies of education, past and present, and will therefore more effectively develop, articulate, and defend their own perspectives.

Problem Awareness:

Participants will develop their ability to recognize problematic conditions in their own experiences and inquiries by familiarizing themselves with the various problems addressed in the philosophy of education.

Course Format

This class will consist of a one-hour lecture period on Thursdays, and a two-hour discussion period on Tuesdays. Thursday lectures will provide an overview of the themes and readings that will be discussed on Tuesdays, and will occasionally consist of brief multimedia presentations.

Each week participants will read one or more chapters, articles, or essays from the list of suggested reading materials for the current week’s topic. Participants will share their questions, ideas, arguments, etc. either in-class or through an online wiki which the class will collaboratively produce and maintain. Contributions to the wiki will be pseudonymous, but the professor will be able to observe and evaluate the contributions of each participant. In addition to serving as a kind of open whiteboard for the course, the wiki will function as a knowledge base where participants can contribute to a glossary of key terms, elaborate on important ideas, and make connections to other sources, theories, etc.

Note: This course will not accommodate the discrimination of gender, race, or class, and will not tolerate any form of hate speech or harassment.

Writing Assignments

Over the course of the semester, participants will compose and revise a manifesto that expresses their own philosophical positions concerning education. By the second week of class participants will submit a very brief and rough sketch or outline of their current ideas about education. During midterms week, in lieu of an exam, participants will submit a revised version of this first draft. This second draft should develop the ideas originally expressed in the first draft in response to the various philosophical perspectives and issues discussed during the first half of the course. During finals week, in lieu of an exam, participants will submit the final draft of their manifesto which will be a further refinement of their ideas in response to the views examined in the second half of the class.

The format of the “manifesto” is to be decided by each participant. It can be an essay, a formal article, a succinct manifesto, a brief autobiographical narrative, an outline which details one’s interpretation of and response to the various ideas/themes discussed in the class, etc. No matter the format, the final draft should:

In addition to writing a “manifesto,” participants will be expected to regularly contribute to the wiki in the form of questions, comments, definitions, making links between related content, etc. These contributions should be in the participant’s own words, except direct quotations which should be cited (with a link to the source when possible). The English ability of each participant (grammar, etc.) will not be evaluated.


This course will not hold formal examinations.

Evaluation Policy (절대)

Evaluation Criteria

Participants will not be evaluated based on their English proficiency.

Participants will be considered late after 10 minutes, and absent after 30.
Participants should regularly contribute to discussions either in-class or via the wiki in the form of questions, comments, etc. Other wiki activity and contributions also count as participation. Establishing links between thoughts/thinkers/problems is just as valuable as asking a good question or making a helpful comment

Constructive critcism of other participants’ perspectives and values is allowed, but disrespect and verbal abuse is not tolerated.

Should be clearly and neatly composed. While grammar is not evaluated, the presentation should be organized and consistent.

Each successive draft should demonstrate that the participant has reflected on the ideas and problems discussed throughout the class and the implications these have on their own views.

Should be the participant’s own work and not just a collage of citations or a summary of existing views. It is acceptable to adopt an existing philosophy as one’s own, however, participants will still be expected to demonstrate how and why they have adopted it, especially with respect to the other contending points-of-view examined in the course.

Course Materials

All reading materials will be provided in electronic formats via LearnUs.

Affifi, Ramsey. 2017. “The Metabolic Core of Environmental Education.” Studies in Philosophy and Education 36 (3): 315–32.
Alexander, Thomas M. 2004. “Dewey’s Denotative-Empirical Method: A Thread Through the Labyrinth.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 18 (3): 248–56.
———. 2013. The Human Eros: Eco-Ontology and the Aesthetics of Existence. 1st ed. American Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press.
Ames, Roger T. 2014. “Collaterality in Early Chinese Cosmology: An Argument for Confucian Harmony (He 和) as Creatio in Situ.” Early China 37 (December): 445–70.
———. 2015. Bodyheartminding(Xin 心): Reconceiving the Inner Self and the Outer World in the Language of Holographic Focus and Field.” Frontiers of Philosophy in China 10 (2): 167–80.
Bonnett, Michael. 2016. “Environmental Consciousness, Sustainability, and the Character of Philosophy of Education.” Studies in Philosophy and Education 36 (3): 333–47.
Burgh, Gilbert, and Simone Thornton. 2016a. “Lucid Education: Resisting Resistance to Inquiry.” Oxford Review of Education 42 (2): 165–77.
———. 2016b. “Inoculation Against Wonder: Finding an Antidote in Camus, Pragmatism and the Community of Inquiry.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 48 (9): 884–98.
Dewey, John. 1905. “The Postulate of Immediate Empricism.” The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods 2 (15): 393–99.
———. 1929. Experience And Nature. George Allen And Unwin, Limited.
———. 1938. Logic The Theory Of Inquiry. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
———. 1998a. The Essential Dewey, Volume 1: Pragmatism, Education, Democracy. Edited by Larry A. Hickman and Thomas M. Alexander. Vol. 1. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
———. 1998b. The Essential Dewey, Volume 2 : Ethics, Logic, Psychology. Edited by Larry A. Hickman and Thomas M. Alexander. Vol. 2. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Freire, Paulo. 2000. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th anniversary ed. New York: Continuum.
Greene. 2016. “Liberalism and Beyond: Toward a Public Philosophy of Education.” Education and Culture 32 (1): 41.
Greene, Maxine. 1979. “Toward Wide-Awakeness: An Argument for the Arts and Humanities in Education.” Teachers College Record 79 (1): 199–25.
———. 1987. “Creating, Experiencing, Sense-Making: Art Worlds in Schools.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 21 (4): 11.
Hwang, Keumjoong. 2013. “Educational Modes of Thinking in Neo-Confucianism: A Traditional Lens for Rethinking Modern Education.” Asia Pacific Education Review 14 (2): 243–53.
Hwang, Soon Ye. 2017. “Rethinking Creativity: Present in Expression in Creative Learning Communities.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 49 (3): 220–30.
Illich, Ivan. 2002. Deschooling Society. Reissued. London: Marion Boyars.
———. 2009. Tools for Conviviality. London: Marion Boyars.
Kahn, Richard. 2008. “From Education for Sustainable Development to Ecopedagogy: Sustaining Capitalism or Sustaining Life?” Green Theory & Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy 4 (1): 1–14.
Kahn, Richard V. 2010. Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, & Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement. Counterpoints, v. 359. New York: Peter Lang.
Meyer, David Samuel. 2021. “Learning as Inhabitation: A Reinterpretation of Dewey’s Concept of Learning Through Alexander’s Ecological Humanism.” PhD thesis, Seoul, Korea: Yonsei University.
Midgley, Mary. 2005. The Essential Mary Midgley. Edited by David Midgley. London, England: Routledge.
Ni, Peimin. 2014. “Rectify the Heart-Mind for the Art of Living: A Gongfu Perspective on the Confucian Approach to Desire.” Philosophy East and West 64 (2): 340–59.
Noddings, Nel. 2011. Philosophy of Education. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Westview Press.
Tan, Charlene. 2015. “Beyond Rote-Memorisation: ConfuciusConcept of Thinking.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (5): 428–39.
———. 2016. “Beyond ‘Either-or’ Thinking: John Dewey and Confucius on Subject Matter and the Learner.” Pedagogy, Culture & Society 24 (1): 55–74.
———. 2017. “A Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (1): 331–43.
Woo, Jeong-Gil. 2018. “Revisiting the<i>analects</i>for a Modern Reading of the Confucian Dialogical Spirit in Education.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (11): 1091–1105.
Yang, Fan, Jing Lin, and Thomas Culham. 2019. “From Intimidation to Love: Taoist Philosophy and Love-Based Environmental Education.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (11): 1117–29.
황금중. 2005. “노자의 교육론과 그 사상사적 의미.” 미래교육연구 18: 47–70.
———. 2010a. “주자의 독서론: 격물치지공부로서의 독서.” 교육철학 47: 249–80.
———. 2010b. “지속가능한 미래를 위한 마음교육.” 교육철학 49: 199–228.
———. 2014. 학이란 무엇인가: 아름답고 위대한 본성의 체현. 한국국학진흥원 교양총서: 오래된 질문을 다시 던지다 11. 파주: 글항아리.

Course Schedule

  1. 03/02 - 03/28 Orientation

  2. 03/09 - 03/15 Metaphilosophy

  3. 03/16 - 03/22 Pre-Modern Philosophy

  4. 03/23 - 03/29 John Dewey’s Philosophical Legacy

  5. 03/30 - 04/05 Analytic Philosophy

  6. 04/06 - 04/12 Continental Philosophy

  7. 04/13 - 04/19 East Asian Philosophies

  8. 04/20 - 04/26 Midterms

  9. 04/27 - 05/03 Logic, Thought & Inquiry

  10. 05/04 - 05/10 Knowledge & Truth

  11. 05/11 - 05/17 Existence, Experience, and the Aesthetic

  12. 05/18 - 05/24 Identity, Personhood, Community

  13. 05/25 - 05/31 Ethics, Morality & Schooling

  14. 06/01 - 06/07 Ecology & Environmental Education

  15. 06/08 - 06/14

  16. 06/15 - 05/21 Finals