Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education

Prof. David Backer

Basic questions

What is education? Is it schooling or becoming? On the one hand, if education is schooling, is there a difference between study and instruction? Further, is the idea of schooling to vindicate the interests of adults or to attend to the experiences of the young? On the other hand, if education is becoming, should we think about the individual or society as its object? Further, whether individual or social, does education-as becoming entail becoming the status quo or moving away from the status quo towards something else?


Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (2009), La Respuesta, trans. Electa Arenal

The Bhagavadgita, trans. S. Radhakrishnan

Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking,

John Dewey, Experience and Education

Course Calendar


W Jan 21 = Introduction, syllabus, etc.

M Jan 26 = Study vs. Instruction, Education vs. Schooling: An Historical Introduction, “Towards a Place for Study in a World of Instruction” by Robbie McClintock.

The Past

W Jan 28 = Socrates and Plato, Meno and the Cave

M Feb 2 = The Bhagavadgita, Dialogue Between Krsna and Arjuna

W Feb 4 = St. Thomas Aquinas on Teaching, Learning, and Education: The Scholastic Method, Excerpts from Summa Theologie

MW Feb 9 +11 = Sor Juana Inez de las Cruz on Ignoring Less, La Respuesta

M Feb 16 = Rousseau’s Emile; The Indirect Method, Emile, Book II

W Feb 18 = Wollstonecraft’s Reply to Rousseau, Vindication of the Rights of Women

M Feb 23 = W. Humboldt, Bildung, and the Modern University

W Feb 25 = Founding Documents of Barnard College and Columbia University

MW Mar 2 + 4 = Dewey and Progressive Education, Experience and Education

M Mar 9 + 11 = N. Krupskaya and Revolutionary Education, On Education

Midterm Due

MW Mar 23 + 25 = Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, and Critical Pedagogy, We Make the Road by Walking

The Present

M Mar 30 = Contemporary Perspectives and Issues in the Idea of Schooling

W Apr 1 = Milton Friedman on Education and Government

M Apr 6 = Education-as-schooling: No Child Left Behind and the Case of Diane Ravitch

W Apr 8 = Education-as-schooling: Barbara Madeloni, Pearson, and edTPA

M Apr 13 = Education-as-schooling: Morna McDermott and the Opt-out movement

W Apr 15 = Education-as-schooling Randi Weingarten, Unions, and The Charter School Movement

MW Apr 20 + 22 = Guest Lectures

M Apr 27 = Education-as-becoming: The 2008 financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street

W Apr 29 = Education-as-becoming: Debt

M May 4 = Presentations of papers, projects, and final thoughts

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