INTRODUCTION

Philosophy is a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means. It signifies a natural and necessary urge in human beings to know themselves and the world in which they live and move and have their being.
Western philosophy remained more or less true to the etymological meaning of philosophy  in  being  essentially  an intellectual  quest  for  truth.  Hindu philosophy is intensely spiritual and has always emphasized the need for practical realization of Truth. Philosophy is a comprehensive system of ideas about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in. It is a guide for living, because the issues it addresses are basic and pervasive, determining the course we take in life and how we treat other people. Hence we can say that all the aspects of human life are influenced and governed by the philosophical consideration.As a field of study philosophy is one of the oldest disciplines. It is considered as a mother of all the sciences. In fact it is at the root of all knowledge. Education has also drawn its material from different philosophical bases.

Education, like philosophy is also closely related to human life. Therefore, being an important life activity education is also greatly influenced by philosophy. Various fields of philosophy like the political philosophy, social philosophy and economic philosophy have great influence on the various aspects of education like educational procedures, processes, policies, planning and its implementation, from both the theoretical and practical aspects.

In order to understand the concept of Philosophy of education it is necessary to first understand the meaning of the two terms; Philosophy and Education.

MEANING OF PHILOSOPHY & EDUCATION



MEANING AND CONCEPT OF PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION, Meaning of  Philosophy, Meaning of Education, CONCEPT OF PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes.

Meaning of  Philosophy

The word philosophy literally means love of wisdom; It is derived from two Greek words i.e. 'phileo' (love) and 'Sophia' (wisdom). This tells us something about the nature of philosophy, but not much, because many disciplines seek wisdom. Since times immemorial there have been various pursuits for unfolding the mystery of the universe, birth and death, sorrow and joy. Various ages have produced different thoughts throwing light upon the mystic region. The ultimate truth is yet to be found out. This eternal quest for truth 'lends the origin of philosophy. A love of wisdom is the essence for any philosophy investigation.

On the standard way of telling the story, humanity's first systematic inquiries took place within a mythological or religious framework: wisdom ultimately was to be derived from sacred traditions and from individuals thought to possess privileged access to a supernatural realm, whose own access to wisdom, in turn, generally was not questioned. However, starting in the sixth century BCE, there appeared in ancient Greece a series of thinkers whose inquiries were comparatively secular (see "The Milesians and the Origin of Philosophy"). Presumably, these thinkers conducted their inquiries through reason and observation, rather than through tradition or revelation. These thinkers were the first philosophers.  Although  this  picture  is  admittedly  simplistic,  the  basic distinction has stuck: philosophy in its most primeval form is considered nothing less than secular inquiry itself.

The subject of philosophical inquiry is the reality itself. There are different schools of philosophy depending on the answers they seek to the question of reality. It is the search for understanding of man, nature and the universe. There are different branches of philosophy-Epistemology, Metaphysics, etc. There are different fields of philosophy such as educational philosophy, social philosophy, political philosophy, economic philosophy etc. There are also different philosophical approaches such as idealism, naturalism, pragmatism, materialism, and so on.

Meaning of Education


Etymologically, the word education is derived from educare (Latin) "bring up", which is related to educere "bring out", "bring forth what is within", "bring out potential" and ducere, "to lead". Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.

Webster defines education as the process of educating or teaching (now that's really useful, isn't it?) Educate is further defined as "to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of..." Thus, from these definitions, we might assume that the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of students.

In ancient Greece, Socrates argued that education was about drawing out what was already within the student. (As many of you know, the word education comes from the Latin e-ducere meaning "to lead out.") At the same time, the Sophists, a group of itinerant teachers, promised to give students the necessary knowledge and skills to gain positions with the city-state. Thus we see that there are different views and understandings of the meaning of the term education. In the modern times it has acquired two different shades of meaning namely:

(1)  an  institutional  instruction,  given  to  students  in  school  colleges formally ;and

(2)  a pedagogical science, studied by the student of education.

The words of Adam education is the dynamic side of philosophy. Philosophy takes into its orbit, all the dimensions of human life. Similarly education also reflects the multifaceted nature of human life. Therefore, education is closely related to various aspects of human life and environment. Hence, the term education has a wide connotation. It is difficult to define education by single definition. Philosophers and thinkers from Socrates to Dewey in west and a host of Indian philosophers have attempted to define education. However education can be understood as the deliberate and systematic influence exerted by a mature through instruction, and discipline. It means the harmonious development of all the powers of the human being; physical social, intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual. The essential elements in the educative process are a creative mind, a well integrated self, socially useful purposes and experience related to the interests of the individual, needs and abilities of the individual as a of a social group.

In the historical development of man, education has been the right of a privileged few. It is only in recent centuries that education has come to be recognized as a human right. All have equal right to be educated as education has become sine qua non of civilization.

Our discussion of the concept of education and the concept of philosophy form the basis of arriving at the definition of philosophy of education.


CONCEPT OF PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION


All human societies, past and present, have had a vested interest in education; and some wits have claimed that teaching (at its best an educational activity) is the second oldest profession. While not all societies channel sufficient resources into support for  educational activities and institutions, all at the very least acknowledge their centralityand for good reasons. For one thing, it is obvious that children are born illiterate and innumerate, and ignorant of the norms and cultural achievements of the community or society into which they have been thrust; but with the help of professional teachers and the dedicated amateurs in their families and immediate environs (and with the aid, too, of educational resources made available through the media and nowadays the internet), within a few years they can read, write, calculate, and act (at least often) in culturally-appropriate ways. Some learn these skills with more facility than others, and so education also serves as a social-sorting mechanism and undoubtedly has enormous impact on the economic fate of the individual. Put more abstractly, at its best education equips individuals with the skills and substantive knowledge that allows them to define and to pursue their own goals, and also allows them to participate in the life of their community as full-fledged, autonomous citizens.

Equips individuals with the skills and substantive knowledge that allows them to define and to pursue their own goals, and also allows them to participate in the life of their community as full-fledged, autonomous citizens.

But this is to cast matters in very individualistic terms, and it is fruitful  also  to  take  a  societal  perspective,  where  the  picture  changes somewhat. It emerges that in pluralistic societies such as the Western democracies there are some groups that do not wholeheartedly support the development of autonomous individuals, for such folk can weaken a group from within by thinking for themselves and challenging communal norms and beliefs; from the point of view of groups whose survival is thus threatened, formal, state-provided education is not necessarily a good thing. But in other ways even these groups depend for their continuing survival on educational processes, as do the larger societies and nation- states of which they are part; for as John Dewey put it in the opening chapter of his classic work Democracy and Education (1916), in its broadest sense education is the means of the social continuity of life” (Dewey, 1916, 3). Dewey pointed out that the “primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of the constituent members in a social group” make education a necessity, for despite this biological inevitability the life of the group goes on” (Dewey, 3). The great social importance of education is underscored, too, by the fact that when a society is shaken by a crisis, this often is taken as a sign of educational breakdown; education, and educators, become scapegoats.

It is not surprising that such an important social domain has attracted the attention of philosophers for thousands of years, especially as there are complex issues aplenty that have great philosophical interest. abstractly, at its best education equips individuals with the skills and substantive knowledge that allows them to define and to pursue their own goals, and also allows them to participate in the life of their community as full-fledged, autonomous citizens.

But this is to cast matters in very individualistic terms, and it is fruitful also to take a societal perspective, where the picture changes somewhat. It emerges that in pluralistic societies such as the Western democracies there are some groups that do not wholeheartedly support the development of autonomous individuals, for such folk can weaken a group from within by thinking for themselves and challenging communal norms and beliefs; from the point of view of groups whose survival is thus threatened, formal, state-provided education is not necessarily a good thing. But in other ways even these groups depend for their continuing survival on educational processes, as do the larger societies and nation- states of which they are part; for as John Dewey put it in the opening chapter of his classic work Democracy and Education (1916), in its broadest sense education is the means of the social continuity of life” (Dewey, 1916, 3). Dewey pointed out that the “primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of the constituent members in a social group” make education a necessity, for despite this biological inevitability the life of the group goes on” (Dewey, 3). The great social importance of education is underscored, too, by the fact that when a society is shaken by a crisis, this often is taken as a sign of educational breakdown; education, and educators, become scapegoats.

It is not surprising that such an important social domain has attracted the attention of philosophers for thousands of years, especially as there are complex issues aplenty that have great philosophical interest. The following are some issues that philosophers have deeply thought about and philosophy is still in the process of answering these questions.

Is Education as transmission of knowledge versus education as the fostering of inquiry and reasoning skills that are conducive to the development of autonomy (which, roughly, is the tension between education as conservative and education as progressive, and also is closely related to differing views about human “perfectibility”—issues that historically have been raised in the debate over the aims of education); the question of what this knowledge, and what these skills, ought to be—part of the domain of philosophy of the curriculum; the questions of how learning is possible, and what is it to have learned something—two sets of issues that relate to the question of the capacities and potentialities that are present at birth, and also to the process (and stages) of human development and to what degree this process is flexible and hence can be influenced or manipulated; the tension between liberal education and vocational education, and the overlapping issue of which should be given priorityeducation for personal development or education for citizenship (and the issue of whether or not this is a false dichotomy); the differences (if any) between education and enculturation; the distinction between educating versus teaching versus training versus indoctrination; the relation between education and maintenance of the class structure of society, and the issue of whether different classes or cultural groups can— justlybe given educational programs that differ in content or in aims; the issue of whether the rights of children, parents, and socio-cultural  or ethnic groups, conflict—and if they do, the question of whose rights should be dominant; the question as to whether or not all children have a right to state-provided education, and if so, should this education respect the beliefs and customs of all groups and how on earth would this be accomplished; and a set of complex issues about the relation between education and social reform, centering upon whether education is essentially conservative, or whether it can be an (or, the) agent of social change.

It is here that that philosophy of education plays an important role in providing direction to education on the following issues as well as providing a theory of knowledge for education to work upon.

Philosophy of education is essentially a method of approaching educational experience rather than a body of conclusions. It is the specific method which makes it philosophical. Philosophical method is critical, comprehensive and synthetic.

Therefore,

1]  Philosophy  of  education  is  the  criticism  of  the  general  theory  of education.

2] It consist of critical evaluation and systematic reflection upon general theories.

3] It is a synthesis of educational facts with educational values.

In brief, it is a philosophical process of solving educational problems through philosophical method, from a philosophical attitude to arrive at philosophical conclusions and results. Thus, it aims at achieving general as well as comprehensive results.

References

1] Chandra S. S., R. Sharma, Rejendra K (2002) " Philosophy of Education." New Delhi, Allantic publishers.

2] Chakraborty A. K.(2003)." Principles and Practices of Education." Meerut, Lal Book Depot.

3] Gupta S. (2005). " Education in Emerging India. Teachers role in Society." New Delhi, Shipra Publication.

4] Seetharamu, A. S. (1989). Philosophy of Education. New Delhi, ' Ashish Publishing House.

5] Taneja, V. R. (2000). " Educational Thought and Practice." New DelhiSterling.

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