Philosophy of Education

This summer I plan on conducting a thorough review of education philosophies (one of my goals for 2008). Below are the books and subjects I plan on reading. Does anyone have further suggestions?

Philosophy of education study plan



  • The Montessori Method


  • Inhelder, B. and J. Piaget (1958). The Growth of Logical Thinking

from Childhood to Adolescence. New York: Basic Books





  • Philosophy of Education lecture series

Great Books of the Western World
Taking Children Seriously

As I review each book and subject, I'll write up my analysis here.


  1. 1. Am I correct in saying that you are compiling a list of original works advocating various education philosophies?

    In other words, you are not reading historians' accounts of the history of education in various periods?

    2. Is the "Trivium/Quadrivium" item on your list a subject heading for which you have not found a particular book? If so, you might consider David L. Wagner, The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages. It is in my stack of reading. It has been a classic in medieval studies for many years. (Perhaps there is a more recent, better book covering the same subject; I don't know.)

    The book is an anthology, with one chapter on each of the seven arts, written by a specialist, such as Elinore Stump (a specialist on logic in the Middle Ages). Wagner provides very helpful historical and philosophical introductions to the book and to each chapter. The book also discusses the roots in the ancient world and the fruit, so to speak, in education after the Latin-Christian period (the "Middle Ages").

    It is not a continuous history, though it does sketch the history of changes in education, but a topic-by-topic discussion of the "philosophy" for and implementation of each subject (grammar, rhetoric, logic; geometry, arithmetic, music; and astronomy).

  2. Burgess,
    1. Yes. I am interested those advocating various education philosophies.

    2. Again, correct. I had not found a book in this subject area. As you explain it, Wagner's book sounds like it would serve my purpose. Thank you for the suggestion.

  3. I have read about 40 pages of Wagner's The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages. It might be more technical in some ways than what you are looking for. You might consider examining the long "Liberal Arts" entry in the 10-volume Dictionary of the Middle Ages as an alternative.

    However, if what you want is to see (1) the philosophical basis for an educational system, (2) its actual practice, and (3) its historical context, I continue to recommend Wagner's book.

    If read slowly and thoughtfully, it is very informative. The connection between worldview (religion, philosophy) and educational system is striking.