Philosophy of Education


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Philosophy of Education


Webster defines philosophy as a critical study of fundamental beliefs and the grounds for them. In this philosophy, I will be talking about the three great philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These three philosophers represent the birthplace of Western philosophy.

Socrates, which is synonymous with wisdom and the philosophical life, was a teacher without a school. His goal was to help others find the truths that lie within their own minds. He helped his students reach deeper, clearer ideas by questioning, disproving, and testing the thoughts of his pupils. His teachings offended many of the powerful people of his time. They believed he was corrupting the youth in Athens. Since he believed and taught in this way, he was executed.

Plato, a student of Socrates, followed in his teachings. After returning to Athens, he founded The Academy, considered by some to be the world’s first university. In Plato’s philosophy the human soul has three parts: intellect, spirit, and appetite. He felt that these three aspects interacted to determine human behavior. He urged that intellect be trained to control spirit and appetite.

Aristotle was the student under Plato. He came to Plato’s Academy at the age of 18 and stayed for 20 years until the death of Plato. He went to northern Greece and taught Alexander the Great. After educating Alexander, he returned to Athens and set up his own school, the Lyceum. Aristotle placed more emphasis on the physical world than did Plato. He wrote works on biology, physics, astronomy, just to name a few. But, he is also renowned for his ethical and political theories. He thought the highest good for people was a virtuous life. By thinking this, he promoted the doctrine of the Golden Mean.

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The Golden Mean is the notion that virtue lies in a middle ground between two extremes.

Much of the ideas first founded by these three ancient Greeks have been integrated into the Western culture and education over a period of time. These ideas were once startling and profound, whereas now they seem just a part of our everyday teaching.


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