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Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education

PHL 331U (CRN: 63116) 9:00-10:05 CH 258
Instructor: Alex Sager Contact: 393H NH



This course introduces students to the big philosophical questions and topics of education:

•    What is the nature and purpose of education? What goals should the education system embody? What is learning and teaching?
•    Who should decide the content of education? Professors? Politicians? Parents? Students?
•    Should education be a tool for promoting social justice? If so, what conception of social justice should it promote? Should education serve to create citizens? If so, what sort of citizen?
•    How does the treatment of education as a commodity influence it? Does it undermine its value?
•    How do and should conceptions of human nature affect education?
•    Does the application of social science (“scientific pedagogy”) in teacher training and classroom management raise moral issues in education and, if so, what kind?
•    What is the nature of the university today and what should it aspire to be?

To learn about these topics, we will study both historical and contemporary philosophical works. The class also draws from current events such as policy debates. And since we all have some expertise on education, the collective experience of class members is used throughout to relate the philosophical questions to our lives as students, teachers, and citizens.


The course satisfies Junior-cluster requirements in Knowledge, Value, and Rationality