Philosophy and Education

Meaning of Philosophy

The word ‘Philosophy’ is made up of two Greek words – ‘Philo’ and ‘Sophia’. Philo means ‘love’ and Sophia means ‘wisdom.’ Philosophy is the ‘love of wisdom or knowledge.’ In Indian philosophy, ‘darsana’ is the word used for philosophy. It means ‘the vision of the real or truth’, which is nothing but God. The aim of philosophy is the search for wisdom. One who is engaged in this process may be said to be a philosopher. In his famous book ‘Republic’, Plato says, “He who has a taste for every sort of knowledge and who is curious to learn and is never satisfied may be justly termed a Philosopher.”

Philosophy endeavours to understand all that comes within the boundary of human experience. Philosophy is the search for a comprehensive view of nature. It is an attempt at a universal explanation of the nature of things.

Definitions of Philosophy:

Some definitions have been offered to understand the term philosophy. Listed below are a few of them.

1. Philosophy is the science of knowledge – Fichte

2. Philosophy is the science and criticism of cognition – Kant

3. Philosophy aims at the knowledge of the eternal nature of things – Plato

4. Philosophy is the science which investigates the nature of being as it is in itself – Aristotle.

5. Philosophy like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge – Bertrand Russell

6. Philosophy is a logical enquiry into the nature of reality – Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

Scope of Philosophy in Education:

The general scope of philosophy is very vast. Within its scope, we discuss soul, God, mystic powers, the origin of the universe, its expansion and development, truth, morality, aesthetics and logic.

The subject Philosophy can be divided into three major divisions – They are:

i. Metaphysics,

ii. Epistemology and

iii. Axiology

These branches are particularly important in the various aspects of education ranging from curriculum construction to its transaction in the classroom.

1. Metaphysics: Metaphysics is that branch of philosophy, which deals with the nature of reality. Metaphysics tries to answer the question, “What is real?” The purpose of education is to explain ‘reality’ to the students. Is there a purpose in life? Does life have a meaning? Is there a set of enduring principles that guide the operation of the universe?” etc. It was Aristotle who developed the study of Metaphysics.

2. Epistemology: Whereas metaphysics is concerned with the nature of reality, Epistemology focuses on our knowledge of this reality. Epistemology deals with the theory concerning the various aspects of knowledge and its acquisition. Epistemology tries to answer, “How do we get knowledge? How does a man know what is real? Knowledge is of different types – revealed knowledge (revelation), intuitive knowledge (intuition), empirical knowledge (experience), rational knowledge (reason) and authoritative knowledge (authority sources).

3. Axiology: Axiology is that branch of Philosophy, which is concerned with values. It is an attempt to discover and recommend principles for deciding what actions and qualities are most worthwhile and why they are so. Axiology has two major sub divisions – Ethics and Aesthetics. Ethics is concerned with good and bad, right and wrong and approval and disapproval as well as virtue and vice. Aesthetics is inquiry into the nature of what is beautiful or ugly and why it is so. Axiology is the source of the aim of education. All education and all form of schooling are integrated with values of life. Consciously or unconsciously, teachers are agents of value development and transmission.

Relationship between Philosophy and Education:

Educational philosophy is the application of the different aspects of philosophy in education. Education is the best means for the propagation of a Philosophy. John Adams says, “Education is the dynamic side of Philosophy. It is the active aspect of philosophical belief, a practical means of realizing the ideals of life.”

Philosophy and education are closely related in the following ways:

1. Philosophy and Curriculum: Curriculum is the means through which the educator can realize his goal. As philosophy determines the aims of education, so also it determines the curriculum. Philosophy also decides why a particular subject should be included in the curriculum.

2. Philosophy and Methods of Teaching: Methods are means through which the goal of education can be realized. Dewey in his book ‘Democracy and Education’ introduces the essentials of Project Method. The Naturalists take seriously Rousseau’s dictum, “give your scholar no verbal lesson, he should be taught by experience alone.” Thus he advocates “Learning-by-Doing.” For the Idealists, school is a garden and the teacher is a gardener. Different philosophies advocate different methods of teaching.

3. Philosophy and Teacher: According to Spencer, only a true philosopher may give a practical shape to education. Every person has a philosophy of life and in the same way; every educator has a philosophy of education. What a teacher truly believes shows itself in his actions and in his attitude towards life. Sri Aurobindo says, “A teacher is a man helping his brothers… a light kindling other lights, an awakened soul, awakening other souls.”

4. Philosophy and Discipline: Regarding the nature of discipline, the philosophers differ in their use. The philosophers, who support liberal view, reject the traditional notion of authority. It is not silence or obedience that keeps a class well disciplined, but the cooperative efforts of the teacher and students engaged in learning activities. According to them, the teacher is not absolute authority but is an integral element or part of the group. Thus philosophy determines the nature and form of discipline – whether school discipline should be strict and rigid or flexible and free.

5. Philosophy and Evaluation: Evaluation is a device through which we can get exact ideas of what students actually achieve from their teaching-learning process. Philosophers who support the conservative view on evaluation are of the opinion that intellectual development of the students can be judged in terms of their mastery of the subject. On the contrary, the liberal school is not concerned with the academic achievements of the students but they take the help of varieties of techniques and methods to measure the personal and social development of the students.

6. Philosophy and Text Book: Philosophy is greatly involved in the choice of text books. The contents of the text book must mirror the philosophy or way of life of the people. Text books are meant to spread the ideals of democracy, secularism and socialism as enshrined in the constitution.

7. Philosophy and Behaviour: Philosophy makes a student broadminded, generous and tolerant. Through Philosophy a student can be taught refinement in his attitudes and even conditioned to a desirable behavioural pattern. Whether a child is high or low in thought, brave or cowardly, joyful or gloomy, faithful or faithless can be determined by his philosophy.

Conclusion. All modern educationists hold the view that a teacher should not only be equipped with knowledge of a variety of subjects, but also with a sound philosophy of education. Knowledge of philosophy is necessary while dealing with the realization of aims and values, development and transaction of curricula, designing of instructional procedure and maintenance of discipline.

Dr. John Parankimalil


About John Parankimalil

John Parankimalil, SDB, M.A. (English), M.Ed, Ph.D (Education), popularly known as P.D. Johny is a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He is presently the Rector and Principal of Don Bosco College, Tura, Meghalaya and Director of Don Bosco College of Teacher Education, Tura. He received the 1st Computer Literacy Excellence Award from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the President of India in August 2002 and the Guruvar Best Teacher Award from Shri Kapil Sibal, HRD Union Minister in 2009. He was formerly Principal of St Anthony's Higher Secondary School, Shillong and National President of All India Association of Catholic Schools (AINACS), New Delhi and the Charter President of Rotary Club of Orchid City, Shillong. He has authored several books. He is an Eduationist, Story-Teller and Leadership Trainer. He conducts seminars for Principals, Teachers, Students and Parents. His popular books include, He Can Who Thinks He Can (Macmillan), An Elocution Manual (Orient Longman), Progressive Parenting (Unicorn), Inspirational Stories for Purposeful Living (Babhani) The Way to Success and Happiness (Savio), How to Win Over Your Problems (Babhani), The Secrets of High Achievers (Babhani).
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18 Responses to Philosophy and Education

  1. faiyaj says:

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  2. wada siba Hadejia says:

    Sir,thank u very much 4urhelping us

  3. wada siba Hadejia says:

    That Good my teacher, I re: nderstood about philosophy. #Thank u

  4. Dr. Ratnasagar Malik says:

    A good discussion.

  5. muhammad sakhawat says:

    very helpful and easily understandable article.thank you sir.

  6. Dr. Ratnasagar Malik says:

    A good article which is very useful for the students of education

  7. Jaspreet says:

    Thanku sir for helping

  8. jaspreet jassi says:

    Good notes thanku sir for helping

  9. I am vry glad to see our father name.. I am’ following all these nts… Thank u..

  10. mir sajad says:

    I impressed the way he defined the education philosophy etc very great

  11. Pingback: Interdisciplinary nature of education: relationship with philosophy | lathateacher

  12. rajaryan8 says:

    One can also download detailed notes for SNDT University B.Ed exam from

  13. anbu says:

    very helpful to us ..all the very best by anbu

  14. david says:

    thank you father..awesome

  15. victor boneveture says:

    Thank you sir.your notes are helpful

  16. Celso P. Amplayo says:

    It’s a great help in my masteral. .thank you doctor.

  17. AZMEERA MANJEE says:


  18. tousima says:

    thank u Sir such a Nice notes…I want more detail notes about its scope..

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