Assuming no background knowledge of philosophy, John Ryder’s introductory text surveys canonical writings and contemporary applications to inform future teachers’ lifelong practice of systematic philosophy of education. Exposing readers to the philosophies that built Western education, the book welcomes the development of alternate approaches through systematic analysis of how theory informs practice.
The first half of the book surveys key contributions by the four most influential figures in the philosophy of Western education—Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, and Paolo Freire. The systematic analysis of these historical works develops important philosophical questions about reality, knowledge, existence, and philosophical anthropology.
The second half of the book builds on the historical theories to help the reader develop their own systematic philosophy of education. Progressing from general questions of why, how, by or for whom, about what, where, and when education should be undertaken, the book then delves into metaphysical, epistemological, and socio-political questions that may underlie educational principles.
Encouraging readers to practice a philosophy of education rather than follow a prescribed path, the book presents a model of exploration that builds on ideas that philosophers such as Nel Noddings have developed, and that can be applied across emerging educational issues that are relevant to social and other problems of contemporary importance. The analytic experience and conceptual background material of this book enables readers to think carefully and reflectively about educational principles, policies, and practices as they dedicate themselves to the profession of education.
John Ryder has been a professor of philosophy and a senior administrator at several universities in the US and abroad, including rector at Khazar University, and provost at the American University of Ras al Khaimah and the American University of Malta. While teaching at the State University of New York Cortland, he developed a master’s level course in the philosophy of education. He is the author or editor of over one hundred publications, the co-founder of the Central European Pragmatist Forum, and he served as President of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy.
Ryder’s book is pivotal. Higher education is experiencing declining support and increased interference. Response to this crisis will shape our nation’s future. Success is likely if we follow Ryder’s suggested pathways: understanding the history of education, affirming that student talent is universal without cultural boundaries, and the development of individual autonomy and social responsibility.