Opportune and inopportune expectations from the philosophy of education


(PhD) Associate professor of Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran


During the past centuries, the knowledge itself, which had expanded with the aim of discovering the truth about the universe, was very important. This attitude was changed in the twentieth century especially in its second half. The applied and useful aspect of knowledge gained central role every day more than yesterday. It is such that today, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the standards for being developed are items such as knowledge-centered production, knowledge-centered economy, and an aware and learning society.

The appearance of pragmatism school, especially progressivism, which consider the value of knowledge not in its being true or being in agreement with the outer reality but in its profitability and applicability, has had a considerable role in this change of attitude (Ozmen & Crawer, 2000: 225). Following this, something was going on in the scientific associations and circles: the development and expansion of modernism and post-modernism, which considered reaching any type of absolute truth impossible and rather a relative and plural matter, made the usefulness and applicability of sciences and learnings to gain more value than their worth in stating the truth. This matter in turn caused the formation of similar expectations from philosophy and as a result philosophy of education, leading this branch of human epistemology to move in the direction of being practical and applicable.

This assumption not only penetrated into the scientific associations but also among policy-makers and educational planners. Due to the fact that philosophy is mainly focusing on fundamental issues and its related researches are of the theoretical type, they eventually moved away from the attention of the educational planners and policy-makers. Those who seriously were and still are after expansion and industrialization and renovation of the society have caused philosophy and in general human sciences to be placed in the second level of important, because its function and profitability is not as clear and observable as natural sciences and the technical knowledge or technology.

Although a group of thinkers of philosophy of education made valuable efforts to make it practical and show its profitability, these efforts apparently were not as effective in getting the attention of the critics. This article is trying to work on pathology of this thought and to be a reminder of the opportune and inopportune expectations by paying attention to the importance of philosophy of education, be it in policy-making, planning, or educational researches and the teaching-learning process.