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Philosophy of Education: An Anthology was suggested by Keith Smyth

As part of the Ragged Library, Keith Smyth, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at Edinburgh Napier University suggested ‘Philosophy of Education: An Anthology. Curren, R. (Ed.) (2007) Oxford: Blackwell.’…

Within any discipline area the published anthology is a notoriously difficult prospect. Striking the balance between breadth of coverage and depth of exploration for those who are new to a particular field of knowledge, while at the same time also offering a reference text of value to those who are more experienced scholars or practitioners, would seem an uneasy undertaking.

Philosophy of Education

Thankfully the Philosophy of Education strikes this balance perfectly, offering a topical and comprehensive volume that will successfully guide the reader – whether a student of education, an educator, or an individual with an avid interest in education in the broadest sense – in exploring the philosophies, theorists, and concepts that have shaped educational thought, research and practice, and which have been fundamental to the development of the field.

Comprising sixty chapters that collectively bring together the work of founding figures including Plato and John Dewey with contemporary thinkers including the editing author himself, the Philosophy of Education begins by exploring the nature and aims of education and concludes by exploring the concept of curriculum in relation to the content of schooling.

Between these two points the reader is engaged in thinking about democratic education, home schooling, equal opportunities in education, disability and special needs, teaching practice, education and social control, and in tackling contentious areas of debate around the teaching of creationism and patriotic history.

Refreshingly, the volume also juxtapositions competing perspectives throughout (for example John Locke’s paper on Reasoning with Children presented back-to-back with and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Against Reasoning with Children). This serves to underline the richness of education as a complex, ill-structured discipline (and area of philosophical endeavour) that offers no orthodoxy and which unapologetically asks us fundamental questions about the nature of society and the human condition. Regardless of how you read this volume, or how experienced you are in the field of education, you’ll find at least one such fundamental question in every chapter. You’ll likely find one on every page, even after several readings.

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