Nature of Philosophy of Education

In our last article we learnt about Scope of Philosophy of Education , Now we'll learn about Nature of Philosophy of Education.
Philosophy of education is one of the areas of applied philosophy. There are three branches of philosophy namely 'metaphysics, epistemology and axiology.

Nature of Philosophy of Education, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes, CTET Exam Notes 2015 ( Study Material), PDF Notes Free Download.
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world. Metaphysics is the study of the nature of things. Metaphysicians ask what kinds of things exist, and what they are like. They reason about such things as whether or not people have free will, in what sense abstract objects can be said to exist, and how it is that brains are able to generate minds.

Axiology: the branch of philosophical enquiry that explores:

Aesthetics: the study of basic philosophical questions about art and beauty. Sometimes philosophy of art is used to describe only questions about art, with "aesthetics" the more general term. Likewise "aesthetics" sometimes applied even more broadly than to "philosophy of beauty" :to the "sublime," to humour, to the frightening--to any of the responses we might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit.

Ethics: the study of what makes actions right or wrong, and of how theories of right action can be applied to special moral problems. Subdisciplines include meta-ethics, value theory, theory of conduct, and applied ethics.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. It attempts to answer the basic question: what distinguishes true (adequate) knowledge from false (inadequate) knowledge? Practically, this question translates into issues of scientific methodology: how can one develop theories or models that are better than competing theories? It also forms one of the pillars of the new sciences of cognition, which developed from the information processing approach to psychology, and from artificial intelligence, as an attempt to develop computer programs that mimic a human's capacity to use knowledge in an intelligent way. When we look at the history of epistemology, we can discern a clear trend, in spite of the confusion of many seemingly contradictory positions. The first theories of knowledge stressed its absolute, permanent character, whereas the later theories put the emphasis on its relativity or situation-dependence, its continuous development or evolution, and its active interference with the world and its subjects and objects. The whole trend moves from a static, passive view of knowledge towards a more and more adaptive and active one.

As you can tell, the different branches of philosophy overlap one another. A philosopher considering whether people ought to give excess wealth to the poor is asking an ethical question. However, his investigations might lead him to wonder whether or not standards of right and wrong are built into the fabric of the universe, which is a metaphysical question. If he claims that people are justified in taking a particular stance on that question, he is making at least a tacit epistemological claim. At every step in his reasoning, he will want to employ logic to minimize the chance of being led into error by the great complexity and obscurity of the questions. He may very well look to some of the ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological writings of past philosophers to see how his brightest predecessors reasoned about the matter.

Aspects of each branch of philosophy can be studied in isolation, but philosophical questions have a way of leading to other philosophical questions, to the point that a full investigation of any particular problem is likely eventually to involve almost the whole of the philosophical enterprise.

One view on education believes or subscribes to the view that philosophy of education comes under the umbrella of axiology. As a branch of philosophy it utilizes philosophical methods for the solution of philosophical problems with a philosophical attitude to arrive at philosophical conclusion. In this comprehensive process it includes facts concerning education and synthesizes them with values. The other school of thought believes that education as a discipline utilizes or needs to incorporate all modes of philosophical inquiry; metaphysical, axiological and epistemological. As individuals involved in the process of education right from the aims, purpose, functions and building theory we need to look at any body of knowledge or generate new knowledge based on the three modes of philosophical inquiry.


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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