A 2023 Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title
Assuming no background knowledge of philosophy, John Ryder’s introductory text surveys canonical writings and contemporary applications to inform future teachers’ 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 book systematically analyzes key contributions by the four most influential figures in the philosophy of Western education—Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, and Paolo Freire.
The book then builds on historical theories to help readers develop their own systematic philosophies of education. After questions of why, how, by or for whom, about what, where, and when education should be undertaken, the book 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 developed by philosophers such as Nel Noddings that can be applied across contemporary and emerging educational issues. 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 and a senior administrator at several universities in the US and abroad. 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, as well as a former President of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy.
IntroductionPart IChapter 1: Reality, the Good, and the State: Plato’s RepublicChapter 2: Nature and the Individual: Rousseau’s EmileChapter 3: Experience and Democracy: Dewey’s Democracy and EducationChapter 4: Domination and Liberation: Freire’s Pedagogy of the OppressedPart IIChapter 5: Education and Its ProblemsChapter 6: Education in Context: Nature, Knowledge, and ExperienceChapter 7: Education in Context: Society and the StateConclusionNotesBiographical Sketches
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.
Written by a first-rate philosopher who realizes our thinking about philosophy of education must reflect our broader view of human nature, society, reality, and how we know it, this book takes a systematic and normative approach. Ryder perceptively exploits the tensions among the four philosophers leaving the reader to resolve issues for themselves. This book will prove a pleasure to read as well as teach.
John Ryder has written a clear and accessible textbook that is intellectually rich and refreshingly relevant for educators at all levels. His conceptual framework, one that encompasses both historical and philosophical analyses, offers the reader a pathway in to a systematic understanding of philosophy of education. Ryder is one of the rare scholars who is both trained in philosophy per se, and who has worked extensively with educational practitioners—including K-12 classroom teachers. Consequently, he is able to bridge the age-old divide between pure and applied philosophy—between theory and practice—and create a relevant text for contemporary educators, academic philosophers, and policy makers alike.
Ryder’s new book is a much-needed expression of what might be termed a classic approach to the foundational study of education. As such, it aims to draw relationships among the metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological assumptions people hold and the educational practices, institutions, and policies they endorse. Ryder's goal is to bring a systematic analysis to bear on these ideational relationships. The first part of his book seeks to understand how these relationships manifest in the works of four key thinkers: Plato, Rousseau, Dewey, and Freire. Part 1 covers some familiar territory but is written in a lively style that will engage even beginning undergraduate students. Part 2, better suited for upper-division undergraduate and graduates students, applies this systematic analysis to a range of contemporary educational and social matters while remaining anchored in a critical and normative perspective. Here, Ryder (Khazar Univ., Azerbaijan) also explicates a compelling, relational educational and social philosophy that has much meaning for the present. Systematic in its approach but never narrow in its orientation and outlook, this book is among the most important written on the foundations of the education field in the last 25 years. Highly recommended. Undergraduates through faculty, professionals, and general readers.
1/25/24, Choice: This title was included in the "Outstanding Academic Titles 2023: Education" feature.