Students: This is your syllabus. It may be updated later to meet class needs.

Syllabus & Calendar:
Philosophy and History of Education

edited 3/11/19

As a practical discipline, philosophy of education is the attempt to find the most rationally defensible reasons for doing education one way rather than some other. What makes this kind of educational philosophy different from philosophy is that decisions must be reached as preparation for subsequent action, and the actions which follow upon decisions are intended to have consequences -- to make a difference -- in human lives. ----- Foster McMurray

I. Course Description (pre-read "Philosophy and Education: what's the connection?")

An overview of the philosophies that have influenced American education will be undertaken. Emphasis is placed on techniques and applications contributed by modern philosophy to the development of critical thinking skills that tie in theory to educational practice. In addition, this course examines surveys the history of schooling with a particular focus on schooling in the United States.

II. Major Course Objectives

A. You will be able to present and analyze your personal philosophy of education in eight dimensions, contrasting and comparing it with the philosophies of two famous philosophers.

B. Pre-read "Slogans in Education." Through operationalization, you will be able to distinguish between merely verbal pseudo-solutions and realistic, operational solutions to educational problems.

C. You will be able to analyze vision and mission statements in terms of critical questions and criteria questions.

D. You will be able to construct and evaluate definitions from case examples.

E. You will be able to analyze simplistically conceived cause-effect models of educational processes, uncovering otherwise ignored alternative causes and systemic relationships.

III. Learning Activities

Teaching methodologies will include the use of case analysis, activity analysis, lectures, dialogue, diagnostic sessions, visual displays, question and answer periods, situational simulations and immediate evaluation feedback.

IV. Evaluation : Will be based on completion of core and peripheral assignments. (Click for Core Assignments.) DO NOT PROCEED WITH THESE UNTIL AFTER THE FIRST CLASS.

V. Requirements

A. Each student (or team, depending on numbers) will be required to act as secretary for a class session and prepare minutes on class activities.

B. Group Presentations: 1) self-selected student groups may make a presentation of one of the major course objectives (See above) or of a topic selected from the Workbook.

C. Examinations and/or additional optional assignments: quizzes, short essays or projects addressing class or Workbook topics may be offered as optional work. These quizzes/papers will be marked on a pass-fail basis only. All required material must be minimally adequate and may be resubmitted until so judged. Inadequately prepared optional work will not be counted, nor can it be resubmitted.

D. Papers: A paper addressing a major course objective will be due by the end of the semester. High standards of scholarship and writing skill will be expected.

E. A final quiz may be given.

VI. Appeal Procedure for Student Academic grievances. (See Student Handbook.)

VIII. Required Documents will be available at the first session.


World Wide Web Sources Found at:

From Ludwig Wittgenstein to Norman Malcolm in a letter written November 1944*

...what is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc., & if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life, if it does not make you more conscientious than any ... journalist in the use of dangerous phrases such people use for their own ends. You see, I know it's difficult to think well about 'certainty', 'probability', 'perception', etc. But it is, if possible, still more difficult to think, or try to think really honestly about your life & other people's lives. And the trouble is that thinking about these things is not thrilling, but often downright nasty. And when it's nasty then it's most important.
*Malcolm, N. (1958) Ludwig Wittgenstein: a memoir. New York: Oxford. p.39.


Tentative Calendar (subject to revision)


Lectures & Activities



Lectures & Activities



Go Over Books/ Intro
natural scientist (philo), economist, moralist-- “sacred values”
Logic vs Rhetoric
Unbounded Rationality

Ed& Phil - criteriology Do criteria questions.

Prep Ed Theory Survey

Read synopsis HsecI , S1


Expl & Cause

Causal Analysis

Teams Construct Cases, etc: hurt vs harm

Read & Do Evidence



Video: Roots of Philosophy Violence Survey /Rankings ""Magic Pictures" Punishment PxC PxI Concepts of Punishment

(due: Magic Pictures)


Narrative Unity

Cue, Concern, Control 89

Read Values

(Due: Causal Analysis)



Black Boxes Comp Phil Theory Ontology, epistemology
Deduction Game

(due: Black Boxes)

WWW: Comp Ques A

Read HsecII; Reasoning Probs , Venns


Contrasting Perspectives

Traits & Behavior

Analyzing Values Benefit types



Economy of Teaching

Who is Responsible?



Justice, Expedience Reality, Mind, Body WWW: COMP A Question




Economy of Teaching Socialization, Ed

DUE: CCC analysis

Teaching Efficiency



Prop Logic
Logical Fallacies What's the Connection?

Syllogistic Arg

Read HsecIII





Effective Teaching

DUE: Theorist Synopsis




Wisdom /Structure of Ideas

Conceptual/ Empirical


WWW: Defntn in Pluralsm

(due: Fallacy Example)






Ancient & Modern


(due: Definition Example)

Read Expl & Cause
Radical Empiricism


Ed Theory Questionnaire

History Quiz?








World Wide Web Sources Found at: