From the PREFACE.
...One feature of this volume that will be at once evident to the reader who is already knowledgeable in the field of educational philosophy is the avoidance of the use of classifications or captions such as "traditionalist," "essentialist," "reconstructionist," "progressivist," and others. Labels of this nature are no doubt useful as indications of a writer's general outlook on education, but they can easily lead one to render less than justice to that person's thinking. The contribution of one "essentialist," for example, may be very different from that of another. Undergraduates in particular, the author has observed, frequently derive a curious satisfaction from being able to "label" a writer. One suspects that the label, instead of serving as a guide to a more perceptive study of the particular author, becomes merely a pretext for summary disposal of him. For the hard-pressed student, the label may be all that he knows, and all that he believes he needs to know. In this study such captions are regarded as manifestations of a fundamental and permanent tension in educational thought and practice, the nature and causes of which are explicitly explored.
A Philosophy of Education is divided into three sections. Part I presents an account of what the author regards as the universals or constants of educational philosophy. It is of this timeless aspect of educational values that the author presented a schematic account in an earlier publication. In the present volume that account is expanded, and practical applications of its tenets are explored.
The second section examines these basic values of educational philosophy in the context of the twentieth century. Considered in this light, they suggest new problems, or rather, old problems that have acquired new significance and urgency. In addition, these universal values focus attention upon the source of a confusion that is all too common in current controversy, the failure to discriminate the contemporary - the significant contemporary - from the ephemeral.
The third part contains notes on some of the philosophical systems mentioned in the other sections of the book. The object of these comments is to give the student who is without background in the history of philosophy an idea of the essential tenets of these systems and to draw his attention to certain of their facets that are of special interest from an educational point of view....show more