Prospects for philosophy of education: Australasian responses to worldwide challenges

Year: 2013

Author: Roberts, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …’: so begins Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities.  The same assessment might be made of philosophy of education in our current age.  In some senses, this is a moment of crisis for the field: few academic positions are available, there is little or no substantial philosophical content in most teacher education programmes, and the whole enterprise of educational theorising is under attack from many who favour more narrowly instrumentalist approaches to teaching and learning.  At the same time, there are signs of great hope: key journals in which philosophers of education publish are flourishing, many new areas of inquiry have opened up, and, in some parts of the world, significant numbers of talented and enthusiastic doctoral students are completing philosophical theses in Education.  This paper reflects on this state of affairs and ponders possible futures for philosophy of education.  Developments in the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia will be examined as part of a broader international picture.  Drawing on the work of Pierre Hadot, I also consider what it might mean to talk of philosophy of education as a way of life in the contemporary world.