Sie sind auf Seite 1von 133



by Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque
There are many differences among philosophers classified as Realists, bur with the exclusion of the Scholastic Realists, they generally agree upon the following philosophical assumptions: METAPHYSICS OF REALISM The world is made of real, substantial, material entities. In material nature there are natural laws which determine and regulate the existence of every entity in the world of nature. REALISTIC EPISTEMOLOGY At birth, the mind of man is blank. As soon as he is born, and throughout the rest of his life, a variety of sensations are impressed in his brain. It is thus that man learns. Knowledge, then, is derived through sense experience. However, man can capitalize on this knowledge by using reason to discover objects and relationships, which he does not or cannot perceive. That this is so is proved by common sense, for commonsense shows that it is reasonable to assume that objects exist independent of one's mind, and that man can discover these things by using his senses. Whereas reality is material, the test of truth for Realists is whether or not a proposition within the mind is in accord with the material object or condition outside the mind. Thus, if through reasoning one deducts that A must be equal to B, the proposition is true only if A is equal to B in the material world. REALISTIC VALUE THEORY It follows, then, that anything consistent with nature is valuable. Standards of value are found (determined) by means of the act of reason. However, a value judgment is never considered to be factual; it is a subjective judgment based on feeling. Acceptable individual values are values that conform to the values of the prevailing opinion of society. The prevailing opinion of society reflects the status quo of social reality; and because the social reality represents the truth that is out there, beyond the mind, it is useful as a standard for testing the validity of individual values. EDUCATIONAL THEORY OF MODERN REALISM Aims of Education The basic purpose of education, in Realist educational theory, is to provide the learner with the essential knowledge required for survival in the natural world. Such knowledge will provide the skills necessary to achieve a secure and happy life. Curriculum

Realists believe that the curriculum is best organized according to subject matter - that is, it should be subject-centered. These subjects should be organized according to the psychological principles of learning, which teach that the subjects should proceed from the simple to the more complex. Subjects must include (i) Science and Mathematics; (ii) Humanities and Social Sciences; and (iii) Values.
Science and Mathematics should be emphasized, because the Realist considers these to do the most important area of learning. Knowledge of our natural worlds enables mankind to adjust to and progress in his natural environment. The Humanities are not as important as Science and Mathematics. However, they must never be ignored. Because it is important for each individual to adjust to the social environment, the curriculum should emphasize the effects of the social environment, on the individual's life. By knowing the forces that determine our lives, we are in a position to control them. Values of scientific objectivity and critical examination should be stressed. When teaching values, one should not use normative methods but critical analysis. To encourage desirable learning habits, rewards should be given when required. Teaching-Learning Process The Realist classroom is teacher-centered; subjects are taught by a teacher who is impersonal and objective, and who knows the subject fully. The teacher must utilize learners interest by relating the material to the learner's experiences, and by making the subject matter as concrete as possible. He or she maintains discipline by rewarding efforts and achievements, controlling the attention of the individual, and keeping the learner active. Methods of Teaching The teaching methods recommended by the Realist are authoritative. The teacher must require that the learner be able to recall, explain, and compare facts; to interpret relationships, and to infer new meanings. Evaluation is an essential aspect of teaching, according to this view. The teacher must use objective methods by evaluating and giving the type of test that lends itself to accurate measurement of the learner's understanding of the essential material. Frequent tests are highly desirable. For motivational purposes, Realists stress that it is important for the teacher always to reward the success of each learner. When the teacher reports the accomplishments of his learners, he/she reinforces what has been learned. Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque Pakistan
1. Realism and its Role in Education Teresa Hopson XEF 501-Philosophy of Education Professor: Dr. Percy Bland Cheyney University April 4, 2007

2. Overview of Presentation Classical Realism Modern Realism Contemporary Realism Aims of Realism in Education Methods of Education Curriculum Role of the Teacher Small activities throughout the presentation Conclusion

3. Does Mars Exist? 4. Central Thesis The most central thread of realism is what can be called the principle or thesis of independence . Objects exist whether or not there is a human mind to perceive them. (pg. 48)

5. Difference between Plato and Aristotle The School of Athens, c.1511 by Raphael Plato (428-347 B.C.) Must study ideas Truth and logic through the dialectic discourse Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Should study matter Logic reasoning through his syllogism

6. Classical Realists Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) 7. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) A tree can exist without matter, but no matter can exist without form. (p. 49)

8. What might Aristotle ask of the Rock? 9. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) What is humanity's purpose? Because humans are the only creatures endowed with the ability to think, their purpose is to use this ability. (p. 50)

10. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Aristotle's Golden Mean : (a path between extremes) The person who follows a true purpose leads a rational life of moderation, avoiding extremes: the extremes of too little or too much. (p. 50)

11. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Aristotle's Concept of the Four Causes: The Material Cause The Formal Cause The Efficient Cause The Final Cause

12. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Like Plato, Aristotle was concerned with logic. The logical method he developed was the syllogism , which was his

method for testing the truth of statements such as: All men are mortal Socrates is a man Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (p. 52) 13. Aristotelian Influence Recognizing the need to study nature Using logical processes to examine the external world Organizing things into hierarchies Emphasizing the rational aspects of human nature 14. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) First encountered the work of Aristotle while studying in Naples Attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrines Became a leading authority on Aristotle in the Middle Ages Author of De Magistro ( On the Teacher ) and Summa Theologica Highest good comes through thinking We are children of God; our thinking should agree with Christian tenets God made it possible to acquire true knowledge so that we may know Him better. 15. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Beliefs: -God is the Ultimate Teacher; only God can touch the soul. -A teacher can only 'point' the way to knowledge. -Teaching is a way to serve humankind; it is part of God's work. Leading the student from ignorance to enlightenment is one of the greatest services one person can give to another. (p.54) -The soul possesses an inner knowledge. -The major goal of education was the perfection of the human being and the ultimate reunion of the soul with God. 16. Modern Realism Francis Bacon (1561-1626) John Locke (1632-1704) 17. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) In Novum Organum , he challenged Aristotelian logic. Believed science was 'delayed' by Aristotelian thinking Past thinking flawed due to theological dogmatism and prior assumptions which led to false deductions (e.g. Galileo) Science must be concerned with inquiry and not pre-conceived notions. Science was a tool for creating new knowledge. Originator of the expression: Knowledge is Power 18. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) Believed we should examine all previously accepted knowledge; We should rid ourselves of four idols that we 'bow

down' before: Idol of the Den (beliefs due to limited experience) Idol of the Tribe (believing because most people believe) Idol of the Marketplace (beliefs due to misuse of words) Idol of the Theater (subjective beliefs colored by religion and personal philosophy) 19. John Locke (1632-1704) Oxford scholar; medical researcher, physician No such things as innate ideasmind at birth is a tabula rasa First great English empiricist All ideas are acquired from sources independent of the mind, through experience. Authored Some Thoughts Concerning Education Influenced the later writings of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison (Wikipedia, 2007) The little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences." (Locke, 1690, Essay, p. 10) 20. Contemporary Realism Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) Hilary Putnam (1926-) Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) John R. Searle (1932-) 21. Alfred Whitehead and Bertrand Russell Both born in England Collaborated on mathematical writings Eventually came to teach in the United States Both wrote about education Co-authored Principia Mathematica 22. Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) Led to philosophy through the study of mathematics at age 63 Tried to reconcile some aspects of Idealism with Realism Process is central to his philosophyreality is a process. Philosophy is a search for a pattern in the universe: (Can a fish read?) The most important things to be learned are ideas . Education should be concerned with living ideasideas connected to the experience of learners. 23. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Student of Alfred Whitehead Taught at Cambridge, the University of California Imprisoned for pacifist activities Founded a school called Beacon Hill Two kinds of reality: hard data and soft data Education is key to a better way; we should be using our knowledge to erase some of the ills of society.

24. Hilary Putnam (1926-) Taught at Northwestern, MIT, and finally Harvard The changes in science influence the philosophy of realism Coined the term 'internal realism' Physicists have introduced a 'cut' between the observer and the universe. The universe is too large and too complex for us to understand. Forced to observe universe with our own limited resources. Science will continue to influence the philosophy of realism

25. John R. Searle (1932-) Accepts the traditional view of Realism Coined the term 'social reality' Does reality in the universe just consist of physical particles and fields of force? Social reality created by human consciousness

26. Aims of Education Understanding the material world through inquiry A study of science and the scientific method A need to know the world in order to ensure survival Basic, essential knowledge with a no-nonsense approach Intellectually-gifted student is a precious resource Should use the Great Books of the Western World Adler's Paideia Proposal: school should be a one-track system, general (non-specialized), and non-vocational

27. Methods of Education Not only facts, but method of arriving at facts Emphasis on critical reasoning through observation Supports formal ways of teaching Children should be given positive rewards (Locke) Precision and order: ringing bells, time periods, daily lesson plans, prepackaged curriculum materials Supports accountability and performance-based teaching Scientific research and development Most recent development: computer technology

28. Curriculum Practical and useful Physical activity has educational value (Locke) Attention to the complete person (Locke) Extensive use of pictures (John Amos Comenius) Use of objects in education (Maria Montessori) Highly organized and systematic

29. Role of the Teacher Realists emphasize the role of the teacher Should teach students what they need to survive At the very least, should teach

the essentials Material presented in a systematic and organized way Humanities should be taught in ways that are conducive to cognitive development 30. Main Activity There is a number in your folder. The number you have matches the question that you will answer. Conclusion The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. Sydney J. Harris (American Journalist 1917-1986 ) 1. REALISM 2. REALISM Meaning . Realism is derived from the Greek wordRES which means real which further is related to object. Thus realism is an outlook about the existence of an object according to which the objects of the word are real,i.e they are like they appear to us. Hence it is an angle of vision according to which we see and perceive are realities. Realist believe that knowledge acquired by senses is true. Hence whatever we perceive by our senses is real nature and the true entity of the world 3. DEFINITIONS Realism is the reinforcement of our common acceptance of this world as it appears to us. -Butler The doctrine of realism asserts that there is a real world of things behind and corresponding to the objects of our perception - Ross Realism means a belief or theory which looks upon the world as it seems to be a mere phenomenon. -Swami Ram Tirth. 4. FORMS OF REALISM IN EDUCATION Humanistic realismProtagonist--- Irasmus,Rebelias,Milton. Social realism Protagonist----- Lord Montaigne, John Locke Sense realism Protagonist--- Mulcaster,Francis Bacon,Ratke,Comenius. 5. Humanistic realism It sprang up after the renaissance. It lays importance on Greek & moral literature because it is useful for life.

According to them, it studies present solution to each problem of life, So the real life of life cannot be known without its study. 6. The purpose of humanistic realist as to master his own environing life natural and social through a knowledge of the broader life of the ancients ;but both could be gained by mastery of the literature of the Greeks & Romans study itself was not all of education .Physical, moral,& social development formed component parts it might not be necessary to resort to practical study of life around one .for when understood literature was a safer & more comprehensive guide of life than direct study of life. The realist humanism has recommended the study of ancient Greek & Roman literature for gaining useful knowledge of literature. They consider the Greek & Roman literature as store house of all types of knowledge. 7. Social realism It criticized bookish knowledge & emphasized on practical knowledge. Its aim is to fulfill social needs ,social efficiency which is the result of practical knowledge. Which can be imparted through tours,excursions,observatio ns,experiences etc. The social realist, looking askance of bookish studies stressed the values of direct studies of men & things in mind,having chiefly the upper classes ;they advocate a period of travel, a grand tour which will give real experience of varied aspects of life. -J.S.Ross 8. Lord Montaigne The chief social realist were Lord Montaigne & John Locke. Acc to Montaigne,' The aim of education is to inculcate intellect & logic in man by which he can lie his life well. He emphasized a teaching method which was according to the natural tendencies & development of a child. He was against repressionistic discipline. He said, "To make it of any real value you must not only get it into their minds but espouse them to it.

9. John Locke According to him the aim of education was the development of knowledge,traits,good conduct, learning faculty. He attached more importance to method to subjects .

10. Sense Realism It came into being in the 17 th century according to which knowledge can be gained through our senses. Hence a child should be trained with the help of objects. Acc to Munroe ,scientific researches have influenced sense realism. Hence the child should be bought in contact with the nature. It has preferred education of nature,observation,science in place of language & literature. Teaching methods should be scientific inductive, based on observation,analysis,synthesis. Stressed on physical education.

11. The medium of education should be mother tongue or dialect used in ancient times. It is developed on the psychological,scientific,and sociological basis. This doctrine also assisted in the development of educational philosophy. Comenius is considered to be the most perfect representative of sense realism. Acc to him the aim of knowledge is to make a child moral,knowledgeable,and a devotee. Believed in universal education. Method of teaching should be natural.

12. Education acc to Realism Acc to realism ,education ,is the chief means of an individual's physical,mental,moral,&religious development . Realis t have accepted education as a social institution by which an individual is constructed. In realist education ,natural elements social institutions have been given great importance .

13. Realism and aims of education Preparing the child for a happy and successful life- --Education should prepare the child so that he is able to solve the problems of life successfully. Preparing the child for a real life- ----They believe that reality of knowledge of

external material world is gained through senses Acc to Butler, the chief purpose of the school is to further through instructions,disciline and pupil activity, the development of physical,social,mental,and moral training. 14. 4. Emphasis on training of senses- --Unlike idealist who impose knowledge from above, realist advocate self learning through senses which ought to be trained. 5. Equal importance to individuality and sociability- ---The aim of realistic education is to develop both the individual self and the society which he is an integral part of. According to Bacon, realistic education develops the individual on one hand and on the other tries to develop the society through the development of social consciousness and sense of service of the individual. 6 . Developing scientific attitude . Does not belief in soul, god & ancient & orthodox traditions . Scientific knowledge can be obtained by clear knowledge of practical & knowledge of natural & social environment. 15. 7.Developing vocational efficiency Acc to Spens Report,Edn should inculcate in the child so that he learns to adapt in the environment & earn a livelihood. Hence vocational Edn is to be given. Acquainting a child with nature and social envt . Complete knowledge of nature &human should be given so that he understands human nature ,motivation,inspiration,needs& succeed in life. Emphasizing integration of cultural & vocatinal education Acc to Davenport, moral as well as vocational education shd be given. Acc to Ross, cultural& vocational aspects shd be blended. Hence the school shd impart vocation as well as cultural Edn without any bias. 16. Realism and curriculum Acc to Ross , just as naturalism comes on the educational scene as a protest against system of training that have become artificial ,so realism tends to appear as a reaction against the curriculum consisting of studies that have

become bookish, sophisticated & abstruse . According to realists only those subjects should included in the curriculum which prepare the child for day to day living Realist emphasized prime importance to nature, science and vocational subjects whereas secondary place to arts, literature and languages. 17. They have commended about thirty subjects for the curriculum. They have advocated free choosing by the children from these subjects. At the same time they have made clear that teaching of mother tongue is the foundation of all the development and vocational subjects. Hence the essential subjects in the curriculum should be language and vocational subjects. 18. Subjects should have a sense of utility.(hence inclusion of science). Stress on objects than words. Stress on previous knowledge of students. Subjects in curriculum should be correlated. Subjects: Inclusion of daily life subjects in the curruculum,modern lang,physics,chemistry,bio. botany, hygiene,tours,maths,astronomy,science. 19. REALISM AND METHODS OF TEACHING Realism changed the traditional system of bookish knowledge to gaining knowledge through senses according to the nature of the child and capacity by the way of observation and experience. Realist insisted to impart knowledge of object and external phenomenon through senses. This encouraged the use of audio-visual aids in education. Bacon, the famous realist introduced the inductive method in the process of education. wherein he child does self learning to a great extent. 20. Milton advocated learning through traveling. John Locke also about tours,obsrevation and learning by experience as powerful means of education. Some Realist also propounded many maxims of teaching which discourage rote memorization and prescribed instead learning by observation and experience. Realist regard all

knowledge as one unit and thus advocate the principle of correlation between the various subjects of studies . Stress on scientific & problem solving method 21. They use observation, demonstration, inductive method under scientific methods. Stress on inductive method(due to sense realism). Realist move from parts to whole(synthetic methods). Lay stress on correlation method also. Also supported the non formal methods of teaching. 22. REALISM AND TEACHER The teacher according to realist, is expected to have full knowledge of the content and needs of the children. The teacher must be capable to present before the children the in a clear and intelligible way by employing psychological and scientific methods. ( The method which the new realist apply to the problems & philosophy is called as scientific method) It is the duty of the teacher to tell children about scientific discovories,researches and inventions by others in the field of knowledge. A teacher should know whom to teach, why to teach, when to teach, How much to teach. Shd have a knowledge of child psychology & shd have undergone training. 23. The teacher himself should also be engaged in some research work and experimentation. At the same time he must inspire the children to undertake wide and close observation and experimentation so that they are able to find out the new facts. The teacher must understand the amount of knowledge to be provided to the children at a specific time. way. Realist insist upon the training of the teachers before they engage themselves in the teaching work in an effective 24. REALISM AND DISCIPLINE Since realist emphasize on moral and religious education of the child hence discipline is a prerequisite condition. They advocate self discipline to affect

smooth adjustment the child with the external environment. The teacher only inspires and encourages the child sympathetically. According to Commenius the school should be like the lap of the mother full of affection. love and sympathy. Realist emphasize a synthetic form of impressionistic and emancipatory discipline 25. Realism and the child Acc to Mulcaster,the chief aim of education is to deliver the a childs real tendency to its perfection. Realist have considered the child as a focal point of education. Hence the childs desires, feelings,sentiments,tendencies,ande faculties cannot be overlooked. Acc to Realist, the child will have to be enabled to proceed from ignorance to knowledge & to beget the knowledge of the real. Unlike naturalist & idealist, the realist want to educate a child how to become a man(not god & gentle)so that he can face the real challenges of life. 26. REALISM AND SCHOOL Realist have different views about school. Some of them prescribed traveling ,tours and teaching by private tutors as the best means of education. Some realist emphasize the importance of school and class room teaching. According to them school is an agency which meets the needs of the child and the demands of the society as well. School is the only agency which provides vocational education to prepare the child for some livelihood . In words of Comenius, School are true forging places of men. 27. Contribution of Realism in Education Education shd be practical Aims presented are important because they are based on truth which is present before us. Introduction of science & technical subjects in the curriculum ,life useful skills, Informal Programmes, multipurpose curriculum, are the contribution of realism in education . The teacher objectively imparts knowledge with isolating his desires his facts & sentiments. There is no place for punishments, repression & fear but affection, sympathy,& human

qualities in the school system. Discipline concept has changed. Now discipline is based on feelings of affection & sympathy . 28. Realism has laid the importance of individual by laying emphasis on individual education. In modern democratic age, education is now considered to be a social institution. Education has widened its scope. Vocational and technical subjects have made education liberal.

1. IDEALISM INEDUCATION 2. Rationale: Existence of SchoolMan can only be made man bya cultural birth. This formationcan be made possible througheducation. Education must exist becausethere is a need for a human towitness the fullness of his life.

3. Rationale: Existence of School Man is a socius, the manmust have a social setting tobecome a man.The school serve as value-realizing institution.

4. The Teacher The teacher is the key to theeducative process.The teacher sets thecharacter of the environmentin which learning takesplace.

5. The Teacher Role of the teacher isto bring out what isalready in studentsmind: reminiscence

6. The Teacher Analyze and discussideas with students so thatstudents can move to newlevels of awareness sothat they can ultimately betransformed.

7. The LearnerEvery learner is aunique person Every learner is in theprocess of becoming

8. Objectives of EducationThe search for truththrough ideaswith truthcomes responsibility toenlighten others,education istransformation: Ideas canchange lives.

9. Objectives: Individual Help individual to live rich and significant lives. Build harmonious and colorful personalities. Help other people to live superior life.

10. Objectives: Society1. Communication of the type- heritage as a gift to the young generation.2. Provision for growth beyond the type- letting the youth learn on their own.3. Synthesis- embracing ideals for self and society.

11. Methods of InstructionLecture from time to time, butprimary method of teaching isthe dialecticdiscuss, analyze,synthesize, and apply what theyhave read to contemporarysociety.

12. Methods of InstructionCurriculum give importanceto the study of the classicsmany support a back to thebasics approach toeducation.
Text size

Previous Entry Next Entry

Idealism, as Philosophy in Education

Gary Ivory
Idealism describes philosophies that assume that reality is essentially mental or spiritual, human selfhood is central to understanding life and the world, humans come to know truth by examining their own ideas, and goodness is best described in terms of conformity with mental or spiritual ideas. Thus it may be more accurate to describe it as idea-ism . Idealism focuses on the self and on the development of individuals to bring them through education to appreciation of and conformity with transcendent spiritual or mental ideas. Thus, idealism is fundamentally opposed to naturalism and sees the purpose of education not in society's needs but in the need to pursue a spiritual ideal. This implies that one role of the educational leader is to keep the focus on the spiritual and the transcendent, so that the philosopher and administrator are united in the same person. But in general, educational administration and leadership ...

Philosophy of Idealism in Education


Idealism plays a very large part in the philosophical thought of todays Western world. Many people think that idealism has died out, but in reality it still strongly exists. Idealism bases itself on the premise that ideas are most important in life and that people should focus their thoughts on ideas, which are perfect. Reality, in essence, is spiritual or non-material Ideas play a large role in idealism. The word idea comes from the Greek language and used to mean, A shape, form, or image. Idea has now developed to mean, A prototype as a real entity, creative thought, or notion, a concept. Idealism is one of the oldest of the traditional philosophies. It dates back to the days of Plato, around 400 B.C. Plato is said to be the founder of idealism. He has been called the greatest of all Greek philosophers. Originally, Plato had been a follower and student of Socrates, but after the death of Socrates, Plato branched off with some of his own ideas. In 387 B.C., Plato started his own school, which was called a university for the first time. This school existed for almost one thousand years. Plato's philosophic thought had a large impact on the rest of the world. Idealism has influenced many key people and organizations including American public schools and the Christian church throughout the Middle Ages. Froebel had a definate idealistic view of education. He wrote, All the child is ever to be and become, lies, however slightly indicated, in the child, and can be attained only through development from within outward. Rousseau popularized the idealistic idea that children overall are good. They are born with a good nature, so they naturally want to do good things. Many recent influential people have also taken up idealistic thought. W.T Harris was a superintendent of a public school, and the national commissioner of education in the United States for many years. John Dewey was another educational figure who was largely influenced by idealism.

Idealism, as with every other major philosophy, has several key concepts. To the idealist, the only ultimate reality is mental and spiritual thought. The universe, as people see it, is not actual reality. Everything they see is only a concept in their minds. All things in the world exist in the mind. This world of ideas is perfect, orderly, eternal, and unchangeable. Ideas became absolute. Idealists imply that everything is connected to each other. If they can grasp the concept behind one thing, it will inevitably lead them to eventually understand everything. This is best represented in this poem of Tennysons: Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is. In education, the mind was emphasized above all else. Idealists believed factual information was important; however, facts were not enough. Reasoning within one's own mind was an important process in idealistic education. Learned facts must be taken and reasoned with to come up with the real meaning. Idealists look at reality in one of two ways. First, macrocosm states that an original cause, possibly God, is the main existence. Everything else in existence is a lesser form. The other version of reality is microcosm. Microcosm explains reality as a small part of the whole picture. It submits that a student is a small spiritual being that is a part of a spiritual universe of which everything is comprised. However, all idealists would believe that all that exists is within the universe. Each person is an individual reality, part of the larger being. If one were to ask the idealist teacher what knowledge was, he would say that knowledge is ideas. If one were to ask the teacher what schooling was, he would reply, School is a social agency where students seek to discover and pursue truth. The idealist teacher also believes that only the brightest students should be educated. The more intelligence a student has, the easier it is for him to understand concepts. Of course, these concepts and ideas comprise the truth that idealists seek. The idealistic teacher must always strive to get academic excellence out of his student. The teacher forces his student to think for himself. Several things stand out when considering the educational practice of idealism. The focus of idealistic education is on the teaching rather than on the learning. The teacher tells the student precisely how to believe and how to think. The student knows exactly where he should stand. The idealist teacher holds up the importance of each student making a difference, because each student is different. The teacher attempts to use the students personality to develop a unique person with an individual will. Personal guidance by the authority is stressed.

Idealistic teachers tend to have a particular style of teaching. All teachers are a type of role model; however, the designated function of an idealistic teacher is to be a role model. Women were the majority of schoolteachers, especially in the elementary school. The reason for having women teach school is that the teacher was the moral example. Women were often more moral than men, particularly years ago. Idealistic teachers have a distinct way to discipline students. These teachers do not have certain rules. They believe that a good, prepared teacher will not have any problems with classroom control. These teachers prefer to use positive examples in class to encourage other students. They would rather take a student aside and reason with him to try to make him behave. George Kneller does a satisfactory job of describing idealisms disciplinary technique. He said, When a pupil becomes a disciplinary problem, the idealist teacher tries to show him the effect of his misconduct on the rest of the class. The teacher asks the wrongdoer what would happen if everyone behaved as he does. Is he setting a good example for his classmates to follow? Idealists stress memory and recitation as the primary way to learn. Teachers do not have an exact method of teaching. They would rather adjust and conform to the circumstances in the classroom as they teach. Because idealists believe that the best way to learn is in a one-to-one situation, they avoid group learning situations. Idealists love books, and they function as a large part in their educational practice. Their curriculum is fairly normal with a heavy emphasis on subjects such as history and literature. When an idealist teacher tests, he prefers subjective testing. A teacher rarely gives tests; he would rather find out a students ideas and thoughts on a subject.

Educational perennialism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (March 2012)

Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting pertinence to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics. A particular strategy with modern perennialists is to teach scientific reasoning, not facts. They may illustrate the reasoning with original accounts of famous experiments. This gives the students a human side to the science, and shows the reasoning in action. Most importantly, it shows the uncertainty and false steps of real science. Although perennialism may appear similar to essentialism, perennialism focuses first on personal development, while essentialism focuses first on essential skills. Essentialist curricula thus tend to be much more vocational and fact-based, and far less liberal and principle-based. Both philosophies are typically considered to be teacher-centered, as opposed to student-centered philosophies of education such as progressivism. However, since the teachers associated with perennialism are in a sense the authors of the Western masterpieces themselves, these teachers may be open to student criticism through the associated Socratic method, which, if carried out as true dialogue, is a balance between students, including the teacher promoting the discussion.

1 Secular perennialism 2 Religious perennialism 3 Colleges exemplifying this philosophy 4 Criticism 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Secular perennialism[edit]
The word perennial in secular perennialism suggests something that lasts an indefinitely long time, recurs again and again, or is self-renewing. As promoted primarily by Robert Hutchins andMortimer Adler, a universal curriculum based upon the common and essential nature of all human beings is recommended. This form of perennialism comprises the humanist and scientific traditions. Hutchins and Adler implemented these ideas with great success at the University of Chicago, where they still strongly influence the curriculum in the form of the undergraduate Common Core. Other notable figures in the movement include Stringfellow Barr and Scott Buchanan (who together initiated the Great Books program at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland), Mark Van Doren, Alexander Meiklejohn, and Sir Richard Livingstone, an English classicist with an American following. Secular perennialists espouse the idea that education should focus on the historical development of a continually developing common western base of human knowledge and art, the timeless value of classic thought on central human issues by landmark thinkers, and revolutionary ideas critical to historical western paradigm shifts or changes in world view. A program of studies which is highly general, nonspecialized, and nonvocational is advocated.[1] They firmly believe that exposure of all citizens to the development of thought by those most responsible for the evolution of the Western tradition is integral to the survival of the freedoms, human rights and responsibilities inherent to a true Democracy. Adler states: ...our political democracy depends upon the reconstitution of our schools. Our schools are not turning out young people prepared for the high office and the duties of citizenship in a democratic republic. Our political institutions cannot thrive, they may not even survive, if we do not produce a greater number of thinking citizens, from whom some statesmen of the type we had in the 18th century might eventually emerge. We are, indeed, a nation at risk, and nothing but radical reform of our schools can save us from impending disaster... Whatever the price... the price we will pay for not doing it will be much greater.[2] Hutchins writes in the same vein: The business of saying... that people are not capable of achieving a good education is too strongly reminiscent of the opposition of every extension of democracy. This opposition has always rested on the allegation that the people were incapable of exercising the power they demanded. Always the historic statement has been verified: you cannot expect the slave to show the virtues of the free man unless you first set him free. When the slave has been set free, he has, in the passage of time, become indistinguishable from those who have always been free... There appears to be an innate human tendency to underestimate the capacity of those who do not belong to "our" group. Those who do not share our background cannot have our ability. Foreigners, people who are in a different economic status, and the young seem invariably to be regarded as intellectually backward...[3]

As with the essentialists, perennialists are educationally conservative in the requirement of a curriculum focused upon fundamental subject areas, but stress that the overall aim should be exposure to history's finest thinkers as models for discovery. The student should be taught such basic subjects as English, languages, history, mathematics, natural science, philosophy, and fine arts.[4] Adler states: "The three R's, which always signified the formal disciplines, are the essence of liberal or general education."[5] Secular perennialists agree with progressivists that memorization of vast amounts of factual information and a focus on second-hand information in textbooks and lectures does not develop rational thought. They advocate learning through the development of meaningful conceptual thinking and judgement by means of a directed reading list of the profound, aesthetic, and meaningful great books of the Western canon. These books, secular perennialists argue, are written by the world's finest thinkers, and cumulatively comprise the "Great Conversation" of mankind with regard to the central human questions. Their basic argument for the use of original works (abridged translations being acceptable as well) is that these are the products of "genius". Hutchins remarks: Great books are great teachers; they are showing us every day what ordinary people are capable of. These books come out of ignorant, inquiring humanity. They are usually the first announcements for success in learning. Most of them were written for, and addressed to, ordinary people.[3] It is important to note that the Great Conversation is not static, which is the impression that one might obtain from some descriptions of perennialism, a confusion with religious perennialism, or even the term perennialism itself. The Great Conversation and the set of related great books changes as the representative thought of man changes or progresses, and is therefore representative of an evolution of thought, but is not based upon the whim or fancy of the latest cultural fads. Hutchins makes this point very clear: In the course of history... new books have been written that have won their place in the list. Books once thought entitled to belong to it have been superseded; and this process of change will continue as long as men can think and write. It is the task of every generation to reassess the tradition in which it lives, to discard what it cannot use, and to bring into context with the distant and intermediate past the most recent contributions to the Great Conversation. ...the West needs to recapture and reemphasize and bring to bear upon its present problems the wisdom that lies in the works of its greatest thinkers and in the discussion that they have carried on.[3] Perennialism was a solution proposed in response to what was considered by many to be a failing educational system. Again Hutchins writes: The products of American high schools are illiterate; and a degree from a famous college or university is no guarantee that the graduate is in any better case. One of the most remarkable features of American society is that the difference between the "uneducated" and the "educated" is so slight.[3]

In this regard John Dewey and Hutchins were in agreement. Hutchins's book The Higher Learning in America deplored the "plight of higher learning" that had turned away from cultivation of the intellect and toward anti-intellectual practicality due in part, to a lust for money. In a highly negative review of the book, Dewey wrote a series of articles in The Social Frontier which began by applauding Hutchins' attack on "the aimlessness of our present educational scheme.[6] Perennialists believe that reading is to be supplemented with mutual investigations (between the teacher and the student) and minimally-directed discussions through the Socratic method in order to develop a historically oriented understanding of concepts. They argue that accurate, independent reasoning distinguishes the developed or educated mind and they thus stress the development of this faculty. A skilled teacher would keep discussions on topic and correct errors in reasoning, but it would be the class, not the teacher, who would reach the conclusions. While not directing or leading the class to a conclusion, the teacher may work to accurately formulate problems within the scope of the texts being studied. While the standard argument for utilizing a modern text supports distillation of information into a form relevant to modern society, perennialists argue that many of the historical debates and the development of ideas presented by the great books are relevant to any society, at any time, and thus that the suitability of the great books for instructional use is unaffected by their age. Perennialists freely acknowledge that any particular selection of great books will disagree on many topics; however, they see this as an advantage, rather than a detriment. They believe that the student must learn to recognize such disagreements, which often reflect current debates. The student becomes responsible for thinking about the disagreements and reaching a reasoned, defensible conclusion. This is a major goal of the Socratic discussions. They do not advocate teaching a settled scholarly interpretation of the books, which would cheat the student of the opportunity to learn rational criticism and to know his own mind.

Religious perennialism[edit]
Perennialism was originally religious in nature, developed first by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century in his work De Magistro (The Teacher). In the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman presented a detailed defense of educational perennialism in The Idea of a University. Discourse 5 of that work, "Knowledge Its Own End", is still relevant as a clear statement of a Christian educational perennialism.


Perennialists believe that the focus of education should be the ideas that have lasted over centuries. They believe the ideas are as relevant and meaningful today as when they were written. They recommend that students learn from reading and analyzing the works by history's finest thinkers and writers. Essentialists believe that when

students study these works and ideas, they will appreciate learning. Similar top perennialism, essentialism aims to develop students' intellectual and moral qualities. Perennialist classrooms are also centered on teachers in order to accomplish these goals. The teachers are not concerned about the students' interests or experiences. They use tried and true teaching methods and techniques that are believed to be most beneficial to disciplining students' minds. The perennialist curriculum is universal and is based on their view that all human beings possess the same essential nature. Perennialists think it is important that individuals think deeply, analytically, flexibly, and imaginatively. They emphasize that students should not be taught information that may soon be outdated or found to be incorrect. Perennialists disapprove of teachers requiring students to absorb massive amounts of disconnected information. They recommend that schools spend more time teaching about concepts and explaining they are meaningful to students. The only example I can think of would be a class about religion or history. The instructor would use religious books and historical documents. Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics. A particular strategy with modern perennialists is to teach scientific reasoning, not facts. They may illustrate the reasoning with original accounts of famous experiments. This gives the students a human side to the science, and shows the reasoning in action. Most importantly, it shows the uncertainty and false steps of real science. Although perennialism may appear similar to essentialism, perennialism focuses first on personal development, while essentialism focuses first on essential skills. Essentialist curricula thus tend to be much more vocational and fact-based, and far less liberal and principle-based. Both philosophies are typically considered to beteacher-centered, as opposed to student-centered philosophies of education such asprogressivism. However, since the teachers associated with perennialism are in a sense the authors of the Western masterpieces themselves, these teachers may be open to student criticism through the associated Socratic method, which, if carried out as true dialogue, is a balance between students, including the teacher promoting the discussion.


Essentialism tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development. Essentialists believe that teachers should try to embed traditional moral values and virtues such as respect for authority, perseverance, fidelity to duty, consideration for others, and practicality and intellectual knowledge that students need to become model citizens. The foundation of essentialist curriculum is based on traditional disciplines such as math, natural science, history, foreign language, and literature. Essentialists frown upon vocational courses. In the essentialist system, students are required to master a set body of information and basic techniques for their grade level before they are promoted to the next higher grade. The content gradually moves towards more complex skills and detailed knowledge. Essentialists argue that classrooms should be teacher-oriented. The teacher should serve as an intellectual and moral role model for the students. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress. The essentialist classroom is centered on students being taught about the people, events, ideas, and institutions that have shaped American society. Essentialists hope that when students leave school, they will not only possess basic knowledge and skills, but they will also have disciplined, practical minds, capable of applying lessons learned in school in the real world. Essentialism is different from what Dewey would like to see in the schools. Students in this system would sit in rows and be taught in masses. The students would learn passively by sitting in their desks and listening to the teacher. An example of essentialism would be lecture based introduction classes taught at universities. Students sit and take notes in a classroom which holds over one hundred students. They take introductory level courses in order to introduce them to the content. After they have completed this course, they will take the next level course and apply what they have learned previously. English 101 and English 102 are a specific example of essentialism.

Educational essentialism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Educational essentialism is an educational philosophy whose adherents believe that children should learn the traditional basic subjects thoroughly and rigorously. In this philosophical school of thought, the aim is to instill students with the "essentials" of academic knowledge, enacting a back-to-basics approach. Essentialism ensures that the accumulated wisdom of our civilization as taught in the traditional academic disciplines is passed on from teacher to student. Such disciplines might include Reading, Writing, Literature, Foreign Languages, History, Mathematics, Science, Art, and Music. Moreover, this traditional approach is meant to train the mind, promote reasoning, and ensure a common culture.


1 Principles of Essentialism

1.1 Essentialism as a Teacher-Centered Philosophy

2 History of Essentialism

2.1 Renowned Essentialists

3 Schools Enacting an Essentialist Curriculum 4 Criticism of Essentialism 5 See also 6 References

Principles of Essentialism[edit]
Essentialism is a relatively conservative stance to education that strives to teach students the knowledge of our society and civilization through a core curriculum. This core curriculum involves such areas that include the study of the surrounding environment, basic natural laws, and the disciplines that promote a happier, more educated living.[1] Other non-traditional areas are also integrated as well in moderation to balance the education. Essentialists' goals are to instill students with the "essentials" of academic knowledge, patriotism, and character development through traditional (or back-to-basic) approaches. This is to promote reasoning, train the mind, and ensure a common culture for all Americans.[2] Essentialism is the most typically enacted philosophy in American classrooms today. Traces of this can be found in the organized learning centered around teacher and textbooks, in addition to the regular assignments and evaluations typical in essentialist education.

Essentialism as a Teacher-Centered Philosophy[edit]

The role of the teacher as the leader of the classroom is a very important tenet of Educational essentialism. The teacher is the center of the classroom, so they should be rigid and disciplinary. Establishing order in the classroom is crucial for student learning; effective teaching cannot take place in a loud and disorganized environment. It is the teacher's responsibility to keep order in the classroom.[3] The teacher must interpret essentials of the learning process, take the leadership position and set the tone of the classroom. These needs require an educator who is academically well-qualified with an appreciation for learning and development. The teacher must control the students with distributions of rewards and penalties.[4]

History of Essentialism[edit]
The Essentialist movement first began in the United States in the year 1938. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, a group met for the first time called "The Essentialist's Committee for the Advancement of Education." [5] Their emphasis was to reform the educational system to a rational-based system. The term essentialist first appeared in the book An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education which was written by Michael John Demiashkevich.[6] In his book, Demiashkevich labels some specific educators (including William C. Bagley) as essentialists." Demiashkevich compared the essentialists to the different viewpoints of the Progressive Education Association. He described how the Progressives preached a hedonistic doctrine of change whereas the essentialists stressed the moral responsibility of man for his actions and looked toward permanent principles of behavior (Demiashkevich likened the arguments to those between the Socratics and the Sophists in Greek philosophy).[7] In 1938 Bagley and other educators met together where Bagley gave a speech detailing the main points of the essentialism movement and attacking the public education in the United States. One point that Bagley noted was that students in the U.S. were not getting an education on the same levels as students in Europe who were the same age.[8] A recent branch has emerged within the essentialist school of thought called "neoessentialism." Emerging in the eighties as a response to the essentialist ideals of the thirties as well as to the criticism of the fifties and the advocates for education in the seventies, neoessentialism was created to try to appease the problems facing the United States at the time.[9] The most notable change within this school of thought is that it called for the creation of a new discipline, computer science.

Renowned Essentialists[edit]
William Bagley (18741946) was an important historical essentialist. William C. Bagley completed his undergraduate degree at Michigan Agricultural College in 1895. It wasnt until after finishing his undergrad studies that he truly wanted to be a teacher.[10] Bagley did his Graduate studies at the University of Chicago and at Cornell University. He acquired his Ph.D. in 1900 after which he took his first school job a Principal in a St. Louis, Missouri Elementary School.[11] Bagleys devotion increased during his work at Montana State Normal School in Dillon, Montana. It was here where he decided to dedicate his time to the education of teachers and where he published The Educative Process, launching his name across the nation. Throughout his career Bagley argued against the conservative position that teachers were not in need of special training for their work.[12] He believed that liberal arts material was important in teacher education. Bagley also believed the dominant theories of education of the time were weak and lacking.[13] In April 1938, he published the Essentialist's Platform, in which he outlined three major points of essentialism. He described the right of students to a well-educated and culturally knowledgeable teacher. Secondly, he

discussed the importance of teaching the ideals of community to each group of students. Lastly, Bagley wrote of the importance of accuracy, thoroughness and effort on part of the student in the classroom.[14] Another important essentialist is E.D. Hirsch (1928-). Hirsch was Founder and Chairman of the Core of Knowledge Foundation and author to several books concerning fact-based approaches to education. Now retired, he spent many years teaching at the University of Virginia while also being an advocate for the "back to basics" movement. In his most popular book, Cultural Literacy What Every American Needs To Know, he offers lists, quotations, and information regarding what he believes is essential knowledge. [15] See also Arthur Bestor.

Schools Enacting an Essentialist Curriculum[edit]

The Core Knowledge Schools were founded on the philosophy of essentialist E.D. Hirsch. Although it is difficult to maintain a pure and strict essentialist-only curriculum, these schools have the central aim of establishing a common knowledge base for all citizens. To do so, they follow a nation-wide, content-specific, and teachercentered curriculum. The Core Knowledge curriculum also allows for local variance above and beyond the core curriculum. Central curricular aims are academic excellence and the learning of knowledge, and teachers who are masters of their knowledge areas serve this aim.[16]

Criticism of Essentialism[edit]
One of the positive critiques of essentialism is the stability of the education. Because essentialism is relatively conservative and focuses on disciplines which are relatively stable, it is a rather consistent form of education. The same disciplines are taught consistently and in a progressive manner. It is not persuaded by the fads of the time, but instead focuses on the basics that students need to know to be productive members of society. However, because Essentialism is largely teacher-centered, the role of the student is often called into question. Presumably, in an essentialist classroom, the teacher is the one designing the curriculum for the students based upon the core disciplines. Moreover, he or she is enacting the curriculum and setting the standards to which the students must meet. The teacher's evaluation role undermines students' interest in study.[17] As a result, the students begin to take on more of a passive role in their education as they are forced to meet and learn such standards and information.[18] Furthermore, there is also speculation that an essentialist education helps in promoting the cultural lag.[19] This philosophy of education is very traditional in the mindset of passing on the knowledge of the culture via the academic disciplines. Thus, students are forced to think in the mindset of the larger culture, and individual creativity is often squelched.

Essentialism in Education
What is Essentialism? Essentialism in Education is a movement started by William C. Bagley. The reason for the movement was to

emphasize the teachers authority in the classroom. The advocates of this movement condemn all styles of teaching that are not in line with essentialism. Supporters of essentialism are of the view that the standards in the schools have been lowered by the greater educational opportunities and they also feel that the subject matter should be the center of the curriculum. Progressives, who stress on providing education based on the interests of the child through hands-on activity, are also criticized by the essentialists. The points included in the tenets of the essentialists state that education is a fine combination of hard work and effort. If the student is interested in the subject he/she is studying thats good, but if not, the interest of the student must be developed in that subject area, as the student doesnt what he/she may be needing in the future and student must perform all the tasks regardless of the fact, whether the teacher is providing him/her with sound motivation or no. Importance of the Teacher A teachers hold and order in the class is of the essence, no education or learning can take place in a noisy environment. Students should be directed and helped by their parents and adults regarding their future, as students cannot think of whats best for their future, and should be helped in order to overcome their desires, and what should be their objective in their future. A vital part of the classroom is the teacher. The whole classrooms educational environment is centered on the teacher, so it is the teacher who is responsible for the students mental and intellectual growth as well as directing their futures in the right direction. History of the Essentialism Movement The Movement of Essentialism begin as a counter act to the student center educational institutes in 1930s and 1940s in America. The essentialists were of the view that due to the student centered education environment, students were getting the education that they require for their future. According to the essentialists, the reason for schooling is to educate the students in such a way that they can make a beneficent contribution to the society. And teach them what is necessary to live well through modern day life. According to essentialists, the study material of the students of the elementary schools must concentrate upon the basic skills, and as for the secondary school, the curriculum shall concentrate upon that particular discipline that student is going for. The term essentialism is generally used in three meanings. Firstly, it uses biological, physiological and, increasingly, genetic causes to explain the unchangeable human behavior. Secondly, term essentialism is used when generalized statements are asserted that make no reference to cross-cultural differences or previous historical variation. Sometimes it is also known as universalism. The third and final use of the term refers to all the everyday conversations or academic writings in which we make use of the unified concepts. Essentialism in Education is a fast rising trend that looks to benefit education in the future.

Educational essentialism is an educational philosophy whose adherents believethat children should learn the traditional basic subjects and that these should be learned thoroughly and rigorously. An essentialist program normally teaches children progressively, from less complex skills to more complex. An Essentialist will usually teach some set subjects similar to Reading, Writing, Literature, Foreign Languages, History, Mathematics, Science, Art, and Music. The teacher's role is to instill respect for authority, perseverance, duty, consideration, and practicality. Essentialism strives to teach students the accumulated knowledge of our civilization through core courses in the traditional academic disciplines. Essentialists aim to instill students with the "essentials" of academic knowledge,

patriotism, and character development. This traditional approach is meant to train the mind, promote reasoning, and ensure a common culture. William Bagley (1874-1946) was an important historical Essentialist. Essentialism is related to the cultural literacy movement, which advocates the teaching of a core set of knowledge common to (and assumed to be possessed by) members of a culture or society. See also E.D. Hirsch.

Essentialism In Education
The concept of Essentialism was developed by the American educator William Bagley. It states that the students should be provided with the basic education so that it develops their knowledge as well as helps in character building. Essentialism in Education allows students to learn things slowly, progressing from less difficult to more difficult. It believes that the students should have a solid education base on which they can build up their knowledge. Essentialism in Education focuses more on traditional disciplines when designing a curriculum. It incorporates subjects like math, science, literature, history and foreign language in the syllabus so that it helps in building the foundation of the students. These subjects will help with the thinking process and as the level of difficul ty and knowledge increases the individuals mind will develop accordingly. Essentialism in Education follows a step by step approach. The students are allowed to move to the next level of learning only if the instructor is convinced that they are ready for a more advanced knowledge. Essentialism in Education not only focuses on increasing the knowledge of a student but also teaches them discipline, respect for authority and understanding of the things around them. It makes sure that the students knowledge is not only restricted to school books and they also know the difference between right and wrong. Essentialism in Education gives great importance to character building. It teaches the students about the different values in life be it social or moral, so that they can develop the right manners. The learning method encourages students to adopt different values and apply them in daily life, hence becoming a model individual in the future. Teachers play a very vital role in this kind of education. Essentialism in Education requires a teacher to have the right attitude, patience and the ability to effectively develop a students mind as well as personality. Essentialism in Education is a very popular and widely applied phenomenon in schools all over the world. It kills two birds with one stone as the student receives the essential education and at the same time learns to be a better human being.

Teacher-Centered Philosophies

Collect It!
Email By David Miller Sadker, PhD |Karen R. Zittleman, PhD McGraw-Hill Higher Education Updated on Jul 19, 2010

Excerpt from: Teachers, Schools, and Society: A Brief Introduction to Education p. 200-207 Traditionally, teacher-centered philosophies emphasize the importance of transferring knowledge, information, and skills from the older (presumably wiser) generation to the younger one. The teacher's role is to instill respect for authority, perseverance, duty, consideration, and practicality. When students demonstrate through tests and writings that they are competent in academic subjects and traditional skills, and through their actions

that they have disciplined minds and adhere to traditional morals and behavior, then both the school and the teacher have been successful. The major teacher-centered philosophies of education are essentialism and perennialism.

Essentialism strives to teach students the accumulated knowledge of our civilization through core courses in the traditional academic disciplines. Essentialists aim to instill students with the "essentials" of academic knowledge, patriotism, and character development. This traditional or back-to-basicsapproach is meant to train the mind, promote reasoning, and ensure a common culture among all Americans. American educator William Bagley popularized the term essentialism in the 1930s,1 and essentialism has been a dominant influence in American education since World War 11. Factors such as the launching of Sputnik in 1957, the 1983 report A Nation at Risk, intense global economic competition and in-creased immigration into the United States have all kept essentialism at center stage. Some educators refer to the present period asneoessentialism because of the increased core graduation requirements, stronger standards and more testing of both students and teachers. Whether they call themselves essentialists or neoessentialists, educators in this camp are concerned that the influx of immigrants threatens American culture. In response, they call for rigorous schools teaching a single, unifying body of knowledge for all Americans. One of the leading essentialists, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., authored Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know and The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them. Hirsch provides lists of people, events, literature, historical facts, scientific breakthroughs and the like, lists that specify what students at every grade level should know to be "culturally literate." Most of you reading this chapter have been educated in essentialist schools. You were probably required to take many courses in English, history, math, and science, but were able to enroll in only a few electives. Such a pro-gram would he typical in an essentialist school. The Essentialist Classroom Essentialists urge that traditional disciplines such as math, science, history, foreign language, and literature form the foundation of the curriculum, which is referred to as the core curriculum. Essentialists frown upon electives that "water-down" academic content. Elementary students receive instruction in skills such as writing, reading, measuring, and computing. Even when studying art and music, subjects most often associated with the development of creativity, students master a body of information and basic techniques, gradually moving to more complex skills and detailed knowledge. Only by mastering the required material are students promoted to the next higher level. Essentialists maintain that classrooms should be oriented around the teacher, who should serve as an intellectual and moral role model for the students. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn and place little emphasis on student interests, particularly when such interests divert time and attention from the academic curriculum. Essentialist teachers rely on achievement test scores to evaluate progress. Essentialists expect that students will leave school possessing not only basic skills and an extensive body of knowledge, but also disciplined, practical minds, capable of applying schoolhouse lessons in the real world. Essentialism in Action: The Coalition of Essential Schools The Coalition of Essential Schools, headed by Theodore Sizer, offers several tangible examples of essentialism in action. The 200 coalition schools pledge to promote intellectual rigor, test students for mastery of information and skills, have teachers and students work closely together, and develop strong thinking skills across subjects. But is the Coalition of Essential Schools purely essentialist? Not entirely. Coalition schools recognize and promote individual student differences, a clear departure from a strict essentialist interpretation. In fact, schools in the coalition do not share a fixed core curriculum, but each school continually analyzes and can alter core contents. The coalition also stresses "less is more," since Sizer believes that teachers and students should focus on fewer topics, but go into them more

deeply. In fact, these essential schools also incorporate components of perennialism, which happens to be the next teacher-centered philosophy that we will discuss.

Perennialism is a cousin to essentialism. Both advocate teacher-centered classrooms. Both tolerate little flexibility in the curriculum. Both implement rigorous standards. Both aim to sharpen students' intellectual powers and enhance their moral qualities. So what are the differences? Perennialists organize their schools around books, ideas and concepts, and criticize essentialists for the vast amount of factual information they re-quire students to absorb in their push for "cultural literacy." Perennial means "everlasting" a perennialist education focuses on enduring themes and questions that span the ages. Perennialists recommend that students learn directly from the Great Books works by history's finest thinkers and writers, books as meaningful today as when they were first written. Perennialists believe that the goal of education should be to develop rational thought and to discipline minds to think rigorously. Perennialists see education as a sorting mechanism, a way to identify and prepare the intellectually gifted for leadership, while providing vocational training for the rest of society. They lament the change in universities over the centuries, from institutions where a few gifted students (and teachers) rigorously pursued truth for its own sake, to a glorified training ground for future careers. Those of you who received a religious education might recognize the perennialist philosophy. Many parochial schools reflect the perennialist tradition with a curriculum that focuses on analyzing great religious books (such as the Bible, Talmud, or Koran), discerning moral truths, and honoring these moral values. In the classroom description that follows, we will concentrate on secular perennialism as formulated in the twentieth-century United States by such individuals as Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler. The Perennialist Classroom As in an essentialist classroom, students in a perennialist classroom spend considerable time and energy mastering the >three "Rs," reading, 'riling and 'rithmetic. Greatest importance is placed on reading, the key to unlocking the enduring ideas found in the Great Books. Special attention is given to teaching values and character training, often through discussion about the underlying values and moral principles in a story. (Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett wrote a collection of such stories in 1993, entitled Book of Virtues.) High school marks an increase in academic rigor as more challenging books are explored, including works of Darwin, Homer, and Shakespeare. Few elective choices are allowed. In an extreme example, in his Paideia Proposal, published in 1982, Mortimer Adler proposed a single elementary and

secondary curriculum for all students, with no curricular electives except in the choice of a second language. Electives are not the only things perennialists go without. You find few if any textbooks in a perennialist class. Robert Hutchins, who as president of the University of Chicago introduced the Great Books program, once opined that textbooks "have probably done as much to degrade the American intelligence as any single force." Because perennialist teachers see themselves as discussion seminar leaders and facilitators, lectures are rare. Current concerns like multiculturalism, gender stereo-types, or computer technology would find no place in a perennialist curriculum. While critics chastise perennialists for the lack of women, people of color, and nonWestern ideas in the Great Books they teach, perennialists are unmoved by such criticism. To them, "training the mind" is ageless, beyond demographic concerns and transient trends. As Mortimer Adler wrote. The Great Books of ancient and medieval as well as modern times are a repository of knowledge and wisdom, a tradition of culture which must initiate each generation. Perennialism in Action: St. John's College The hest-known example of perennialist education today takes place at a private institution unaffiliated with any religion: St. John's College, founded in 1784 in Annapolis, Maryland ( St. John's College adopted the Great Books as a core curriculum in 1937 and assigns readings in the fields of literature, philosophy and theology, history and the social sciences, mathematics and natural science, and music. Students write extensively and attend seminars twice weekly to discuss assigned readings. They also complete a number of laboratory experiences and tutorials in language, mathematics, and music, guided by the faculty, who are called tutors. Seniors take oral examinations at the beginning and end of their senior year and write a final essay that must be approved be-fore they are allowed to graduate. Although grades are given in order to facilitate admission to graduate pro-grams, students receive their grades only upon request and are expected to learn only for learning's sake. Since the St. John's experience thrives best in a small-group atmosphere, the college established a second campus in 1964 in Santa Fe, New Mexico to handle additional enrollment.

Progressive education
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Part of the Politics series on



American progressivism Modern liberalism Progressive education Ideas

Idea of Progress Anti-racism

Civil liberties

Economic development Economic interventionism Economic progressivism Efficiency Movement Environmental justice Ethical conservation

Fair trade

Feminism LGBT rights

Labor rights Positive liberty

Social justice Scientific progress Social progress

Techno-progressivism Social welfare Wisconsin Idea

Women's rights Women's suffrage Programs

Square Deal

New Nationalism The New Freedom

New Deal

Second Bill of Rights

Fair Deal New Frontier

Great Society Just Society

Politics portal

Progressive education is a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century and has persisted in various forms to the present. More recently, it has been viewed as an alternative to the testoriented instruction legislated by the No Child Left Behind educational funding act.[1] The term "progressive" was engaged to distinguish this education from the traditional curriculum of the 19th century, which was rooted in classical preparation for the university and strongly differentiated by

socioeconomic level. By contrast, progressive education finds its roots in present experience. Most progressive education programs have these qualities in common:

Emphasis on learning by doing hands-on projects, expeditionary learning, experiential learning Integrated curriculum focused on thematic units Integration of entrepreneurship in to education Strong emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking Group work and development of social skills Understanding and action as the goals of learning as opposed to rote knowledge Collaborative and cooperative learning projects Education for social responsibility and democracy Highly personalized education accounting for each individual's personal goals Integration of community service and service learning projects into the daily curriculum Selection of subject content by looking forward to ask what skills will be needed in future society De-emphasis on textbooks in favor of varied learning resources Emphasis on lifelong learning and social skills Assessment by evaluation of childs projects and productions

1 Educational Theory 2 John Dewey 3 William Heard Kilpatrick 4 Development in Poland 5 Development in the United States

5.1 Connection to Obama administration

6 Education outside of schools 7 Recent developments 8 Traditional Education vs Progressive Education

8.1 Motivation

9 Schools and colleges strongly influenced by Dewey or the history of progressive education in America 10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading

Educational Theory[edit source]

Forerunners Progressive education can be traced as far back as to the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, with both being respectively known as paternal forerunners to the ideas that would be demonstrated by theorists such as Dewey. Locke first speculated, truth and knowledge are out of observation and experience rather than manipulation of accepted or given ideas (Locke as cited in Hayes, 2007, p. 2). He further discussed the need for children to have concrete experiences in order to learn. Rousseau furthered this assumption in Emile where he made a standpoint against students being subordinate to teachers and that memorization of facts would not lead to an education. (See:Emile, or On Education) Another forerunner to progressive education was Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (17461827). His research and theories closely resemble those outlined by Rousseau in Emile. He is further considered by many to be the father of modern educational science (Hayes, 2007, p. 2). His psychological theories pertain to education as they focus on the development of object teaching, that is, he felt that individuals best learned through experiences and through a direct manipulation and experience of objects. He further speculated that children learn through their own internal motivation rather than through compulsion. (See Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic motivation). A teachers task will be to help guide their students as individuals through their learning and allow it unfold naturally. (Butts and Cremin, 1953) The "Progressive Education Movement," starting in the 1880s and lasting for sixty years, helped boost American public schools from a budding idea to the regular norm. John Dewey, a principal figure in this movement from the 1880s to 1904, set the tone for educational philosophy as well as concrete school reforms. His reactions to the prevailing theories and practices in education, corrections made to these philosophies, and recommendations to teachers and administrators to embrace the new education, provide a vital account of the history of the development of educational thinking in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.4 Dewey placed so called pragmatism above moral absolutes and helped give rise to situational ethics.[2] References: Hayes, William. (2007). Progressive education movement: Is it still a facto in today's schools? Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education. Butts, Freeman R. & Cremin, Lawrence A. A history of education in american culture. New York: Henry Hold and Co.

John Dewey[edit source]

Beginning in 1897 John Dewey published a summary of his theory on progressive education in School Journal. His theoretical standpoints are divided into 5 sections outlined below.

What Education Is: Education according to Dewey is the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race (Dewey, 1897, para. 1). As such, education should take into account that the student is a social being. The process begins at birth with the child unconsciously gaining knowledge and gradually developing their knowledge to share and partake in society. The educational process has two sides, the psychological and the sociological, with the psychological forming the basis. (Dewey, 1897). A childs own instincts will help develop the material that is presented to them. These instincts also form the basis of their knowledge with everything building upon it. This forms the basis of Deweys assumption that one cannot learn without motivation. Knowledge is a social condition and it is important to help students construct their own learning, as stated: Hence it is impossible to prepare the child for any precise set of conditions. To prepare him for the future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have the full and ready use of all his capacities; that his eye and ear and hand may be tools ready to command, that his judgment may be capable of grasping the conditions under which it has to work, and the executive forces be trained to act economically and efficiently (Dewey, 1897, Para. 7) Instruction must focus on the child as a whole for you can never be sure as to where society may end or where that student will be needed or will take themselves. What the School Is Education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed (Dewey, 1897, para. 17) Dewey felt that as education is a social construct, it is therefore a part of society and should reflect the community. Education is the process of living and is not meant to be the preparation of future living (Dewey, 1897), so school must represent the present life. As such, parts of the students home life (such as moral and ethical education) should take part in the schooling process. The teacher is a part of this, not as an authoritative figure, but as a member of the community who is there to assist the student. The Subject- Matter of Education According to Dewey, the curriculum in the schools should reflect that of society. The center of the school curriculum should reflect the development of humans in society. The study of the core subjects (language, science, history) should be coupled with the study of cooking, sewing and manual training. Furthermore, he feels that progress is not in the succession of studies but in the development of new attitudes towards, and new interests in, experience (Dewey, 1897, para. 38)

The Nature of Method Method is focused on the childs powers and interests. If the child is thrown into a passive role as a student, absorbing information, the result is a waste of the childs education. (Dewey, 1897). Information presented to the student will be transformed into new forms, images and symbols by the student so that they fit with their development and interests. The development of this is natural. To repress this process and attempt to substitute the adult for the child (Dewey, 1897, para. 52) would weaken the intellectual curiosity of the child. The School and Social Progress Education is the most fundamental method of social reconstruction for progress and reform. Dewey believes that education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction (Dewey, 1897, para. 60). As such, Dewey gives way to Social Reconstruction and schools as means to reconstruct society (See Social Reconstruction in Education). Finally, as schools become a means for social reconstruction, our educations must be given the proper equipment to help perform this task and guide their students. Reference: Dewey, John. (1897). My pedagogical creed. School Journal. 54. pp. 7780. Retrieved on November 4, 2011 from

William Heard Kilpatrick[edit source]

William Heard Kilpatrick (18711965) was a pupil of Dewey and one of the most effective practitioner of the concept as well as the more adept at proliferating the progressive education movement and spreading word of the works of Dewey. He is especially well known for his project method of teaching (Hayes, 2007, p. 24). This developed the progressive education notion that students were to be engaged and taught so that their knowledge may be directed to society for a socially useful need. Like Dewey he also felt that students should be actively engaged in their learning rather than actively disengaged with the simple reading and regurgitation of material. Reference: Hayes, William. (2007). Progressive education movement: Is it still a factor in today's schools? Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Development in Poland[edit source]

Janusz Korczak was one notable follower and developer of Pestalozzi's ideas. He wrote The names of Pestalozzi, Froebel and Spencer shine with no less brilliance than the names of the greatest inventors of the

twentieth century. For they discovered more than the unknown forces of nature; they discovered the unknown half of humanity: children.[3] His Orphans Home in Warsaw became a model institution and exerted influence on the educational process in other orphanages of the same type.[4]

Development in the United States[edit source]

The most famous early practitioner of progressive education was Francis Parker; its best-known spokesperson was the philosopher John Dewey. In 1875 Francis Parker became superintendent of schools in Quincy, Massachusetts after spending two years in Germany studying emerging educational trends on the continent. Parker was opposed to rote learning, believing that there was no value in knowledge without understanding. He argued instead schools should encourage and respect the childs creativity. Parkers Quincy System called for child-centered and experiencebased learning. He replaced the traditional curriculum with integrated learning units based on core themes related to the knowledge of different disciplines. He replaced traditional readers, spellers and grammar books with childrens own writing, literature, and teacher prepared materials. In 1883 Parker left Massachusetts to become Principal of the Cook County Normal School in Chicago, a school that also served to train teachers in Parkers methods. In 1894 Parkers Talks on Pedagogics, which drew heavily on the thinking of Frbel, Pestalozzi and Herbart, became one of the first American writings on education to gain international fame. That same year, philosopher John Dewey moved from the University of Michigan to the newly established University of Chicago where he became chair of the department of philosophy,psychology and education. He and his wife enrolled their children in Parkers school before founding their own school two years later. Whereas Parker started with practice and then moved to theory, Dewey began with hypotheses and then devised methods and curricula to test them. By the time Dewey moved to Chicago at the age of thirty-five, he had already published two books on psychology and applied psychology. He had become dissatisfied with philosophy as pure speculation and was seeking ways to make philosophy directly relevant to practical issues. Moving away from an early interest in Hegel, Dewey proceeded to reject all forms of dualism and dichotomy in favor of a philosophy of experience as a series of unified wholes in which everything can be ultimately related. In 1896, John Dewey opened what he called the laboratory school to test his theories and their sociological implications. With Dewey as the director and his wife as principal, the University of Chicago Laboratory school, was dedicated to discover in administration, selection of subject-matter, methods of learning, teaching, and discipline, how a school could become a cooperative community while developing in individuals their own capacities and satisfy their own needs. (Cremin, 136) For Dewey the two key goals of developing a cooperative community and developingindividuals own capacities were not at odds; they were necessary to

each other. This unity of purpose lies at the heart of the progressive education philosophy. In 1912, Dewey sent out students of his philosophy to found The Park School of Buffalo and The Park School of Baltimore to put it into practice. These schools operate to this day within a similar progressive approach. At Columbia, Dewey worked with other educators such as Charles Eliot and Abraham Flexner to help bring progressivism into the mainstream of American education. In 1917 Columbia established the Lincoln School of Teachers College as a laboratory for the working out of an elementary and secondary curriculum which shall eliminate obsolete material and endeavor to work up in usable form material adapted to the needs of modern living. (Cremin, 282) Based on Flexners demand that the modern curriculum include nothing for which an affirmative case can not be made out (Cremin, 281) the new school organized its activities around four fundamental fields: science, industry, aesthetics and civics. The Lincoln School built its curriculum around units of work that reorganized traditional subject matter into forms embracing the development of children and the changing needs of adult life. The first and second grades carried on a study of community life in which they actually built a city. A third grade project growing out of the day to day life of the nearby Hudson river became one of the most celebrated units of the school, a unit on boats, which under the guidance of its legendary teacher Miss Curtis, became an entre into history, geography, reading, writing, arithmetic, science, art and literature. Each of the units was broadly enough conceived so that different children could concentrate on different aspects depending on their own interests and needs. Each of the units called for widely diverse student activities, and each sought to deal in depth with some critical aspect of contemporary civilization. Finally each unit engaged children working together cooperatively and also provided opportunities for individual research and exploration. From 1919 to 1955 the Progressive Education Association founded by Stanwood Cobb and others worked to promote a more student-centered approach to education. During the Great Depressionthe organization conducted an Eight Year study evaluating the effects of progressive programs. More than 1500 students over four years were compared to an equal number of carefully matched students at conventional schools. When they reached college, the experimental students were found to equal or surpass traditionally educated students on all outcomes: grades, extracurricular participation, dropout rates, intellectual curiosity, and resourcefulness. Moreover, the study found that the more the school departed from the traditional college preparatory program, the better was the record of the graduates. (Kohn, Schools, 232) By mid-century many public school programs had also adopted elements of progressive curriculum. At midcentury Dewey believed that progressive education had not really penetrated and permeated the foundations of the educational institution.(Kohn, Schools, 6,7) As the influence of progressive pedagogy grew broader and more diffuse, practitioners began to vary their application of progressive principles. As varying interpretations and practices made evaluation of progressive reforms more difficult to assess, critics began to propose alternative approaches.

The seeds of the debate over progressive education can be seen in the differences of Parker and Dewey. These have to do with how much and by whom curriculum should be worked out from grade to grade, how much the childs emerging interests should determine classroom activities, the importance of child-centered vs. societalcentered learning, the relationship of community building to individual growth, and especially the relationship between emotion, thought and experience. In 1955 the publication of Rudolf Flesch's Why Johnny Cant Read leveled criticism of reading programs at the progressive emphasis on reading in context. The conservative McCarthy era raised questions about the liberal ideas at the roots of the progressive reforms. The launching of Sputnik in 1957 at the height of the cold war gave rise to a number of intellectually competitive approaches to disciplinary knowledge, such as BSCS biology PSSC physics, led by university professors such as Jerome Bruner and Jerrold Zacharias. Interestingly, some of the cold war reforms incorporated elements of progressivism. For example, the work of Zacharias and Bruner was based in the developmental psychology of Jean Piaget and incorporated many of Deweys ideas of experiential education. Bruners analysis of developmental psychology became the core of a pedagogical movement known as constructivism, which argues that the child is an active participant in making meaning and must be engaged in the progress of education for learning to be effective. This psychological approach has deep connections to the work of both Parker and Dewey and led to a resurgence of their ideas in second half of the century. In 1963 President Johnson inaugurated the Great Society and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act suffused public school programs with funds for sweeping education reforms. At the same time the influx of federal funding also gave rise to demands for accountability and the behavioral objectives approach of Robert F. Mager and others foreshadowed the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2002. Against these critics eloquent spokespersons stepped forward in defense of the progressive tradition. The Open Classroom movement, led by Herb Kohl and George Dennison, recalled many of Parker's child centered reforms.[5][6][7][8][9] The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a rise and decline in the number of progressive schools.[10] There were several reasons for the decline:[11]

Demographics: As the baby boom passed, traditional classrooms were no longer as over-enrolled, reducing demand for alternatives.

The economy: The oil crisis and recession made shoestring schools less viable. Times changed: With the ending of the Vietnam War, social activism waned. Co-optation: Many schools were co-opted by people who didn't believe in the original mission. Centralization: The ongoing centralization of school districts Non-implementation: Schools failed to implement a model of shared governance

Interpersonal dynamics: Disagreement over school goals, poor group process skills, lack of critical dialogue, and fear of assertive leadership

Alfie Kohn has been an outspoken critic of the No Child Left Behind Act and a passionate defender of the progressive tradition. Taxpayer revolts, leading to cuts in funding for public education in many states, have led to the founding of an unprecedented number of independent schools, many of which have progressive philosophies. The charter school movement has also spawned an increase in progressive programs. Most recently, public outcry against No Child Left Behind testing and teaching to the test has brought progressive education again into the limelight. Despite the variations that still exist among the progressive programs throughout the country, most progressive schools today are vitalized by these common practices:

The curriculum is more flexible and is influenced by student interest Teachers are facilitators of learning who encourage students to use a wide variety of activities to learn Progressive teachers use a wider variety of materials allowing for individual and group research. Progressive teachers encourage students to learn by discovery Progressive education programs often include the use of community resources and encourage servicelearning projects.

Connection to Obama administration[edit source]

President Obama's children both attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the progressive school started by John Dewey. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the school himself for 12 years, and his wife was a teacher there.[12][13]

Education outside of schools[edit source]

Organizations like the Boy Scouts of America rose, even amidst concerns by opponents of the progressive movement in the United States, because some people felt that social welfare of young men should be maintained through education alone.[citation needed] After decades of growing interest in and development of experiential education and scouting (not Scouting) in the United States, and the emergence of the Scout Movement in 1907, in 1910 Boy Scouts of America was founded in the merger of three older Scouting organizations: Boy Scouts of the United States, the National Scouts of America and the Peace Scouts of California.[14] Its founder, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce was visiting London, in 1909, when he met the Unknown Scout and learned of the Scouting movement.[15] Soon after his return to the U.S., Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.[16] Edgar M. Robinson and Lee F. Hanmer became interested in the nascent BSA program and convinced Boyce to turn the program over to the YMCA for development.[17][18] Robinson enlisted Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard and other prominent leaders in the early youth movements. After initial development, Robinson turned the movement

over to James E. West who became the first Chief Scout Executive and the Scouting movement began to expand in the U.S.[18][19] As BSA grew, it absorbed other Scouting organizations. See also: History of the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, and Camp Fire Girls

Recent developments[edit source]

Changes in educational establishments came about as Americans and Europeans felt they had fallen behind the Soviet Union technologically after the success of Sputnik in October, 1957.[20][21]A rethinking of education theory following that, along with the subsequent and prevailing conservative political climate, helped to cause progressivism to fall from favor. However, today many schools use progressive education methods, such as hands on activities and science experiments in Junior High Schools. Numerous schools also self-identify as progressive in educational philosophy.

Traditional Education vs Progressive Education[edit source]

Traditional education or back-to-basics refers to long-established customs found in schools that society has traditionally deemed appropriate.[citation needed] Some forms of education reformpromote the adoption of progressive education practices, a more holistic approach which focuses on individual students' needs and self-expression.[citation needed]In the eyes of reformers, traditional teacher-centered methods focused on rote learning and memorization must be abandoned in favor of student-centered and task-based approaches to learning.[citation needed] However, many parents and conservative citizens are concerned with the maintenance of objective educational standards based on testing, which favors a more traditional approach. [citation needed]For further information see, Traditional education.

Motivation[edit source]
Traditional education uses extrinsic motivation, such as grades and prizes. Progressive education is more likely to use intrinsic motivation, basing activities on the interests of the child. Praise may be discouraged as a motivator.[22][23]

Schools and colleges strongly influenced by Dewey or the history of progressive education in America[edit source]
The United States

The Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education - The oldest progressive school in the United States (1907) started by Marietta Pierce Johnson, renowned progressive pedagogist, as an experimental

progressive school. Many progressive schools across the nation and internationally were modeled after the Organic School. [1]

Ann Arbor Open School - A progressive K8 school in the Ann Arbor Public School District in Michigan Bank Street College of Education - A Progressive Children's School and College of Education in New York, New York, founded in 1916.

Buxton School A Progressive coed boarding/day school for grade 9-12 in Williamstown, Massachusetts, founded in 1928.

City and Country School - A Progressive N8 School in the Greenwich Village section of New York that was founded in 1914 by Caroline Pratt (educator)

Colorado Rocky Mountain School - A college-preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Communitas Charter High School A progressive charter high school with an emphasis on community. Founded in San Jose, California

Calhoun School - A progressive preK-12 school in Manhattan, New York. The Cambridge School of Weston - A progressive day/boarding school, grades 9-12, founded in 1886 and located in Weston, Massachusetts.

Children's Community School - A progressive elementary school in Van Nuys, California City Neighbors Charter School - A Progressive model of 3 grassroots public schools serving approximately 560 students in Grades k-12 in Baltimore City.

Cold Spring School, New Haven, CT ( An independent day school with approximately 120 students in preschool through sixth grade. The school is located in an urban New Haven neighborhood adjacent to a city park that overlooks the Long Island Sound.

Conservatory Prep Senior High - An arts-integrated experiential school for grades 8-12 in Davie, FL. The Crefeld School - A Progressive secondary school serving approximately 100 students in Grades 7-12 in the greater Philadelphia area.

Christa McAuliffe School - A progressive K-8 school in the Cupertino Union School District in California Corlears School - A progressive pre-k to 5th grade private school in Manhattan, NY. The Dragon Academy - A progressive museum based middle and high school in Toronto, Canada Far Brook School - A progressive independent school for grades preK-8 in Short Hills, NJ, founded in 1948.

Friends School of Minnesota - A Progressive K-8 Quaker school in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ethical Culture Fieldston School - An independent Progressive K-12 school in Riverdale, New York. Green Acres School - A progressive pre-k to 8 independent school in Rockville, Maryland.

The Howard Gardner School - A small independent school based in the tradition of progressive education, serving college-bound learners in grades 7-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. Founded in 2004, with a focus on environmental science and the arts.

Honey Fern School - A progressive 6-12 school near Atlanta, GA. Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School - An independent Progressive preK-12 school in Manhattan, New York.

The Little School: - A Progressive school for ages 312 in Bellevue, Washington, founded in 1959

The Miquon School - A progressive PK-6 school founded in 1932 near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Mission Hill School - an preK-8 urban public pilot school in the Boston Public Schools, founded by Deborah Meier and colleagues.

Oak Lane Day School - A progressive preschool through sixth grade near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1916

Oakwood School (California) - A progressive junior high to high school in North Hollywood, California Park Day School - A diverse, independent bridge-K through 8th grade school with a 35 year history of progressive education. Located in Oakland, California.

The Park School of Baltimore - A Progressive school for grades K-12 in Pikesville, Maryland, founded in 1912.

The Park School of Buffalo - A Progressive school for grades K-12 in Snyder, New York, founded in 1912. Peninsula School- A Progressive elementary school in Menlo Park, California Project Learn School - A progressive cooperative school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, serving about 80 students in grades K-8.

The Putney School - A Progressive coed boarding/day school for grades 9-12 in Putney, Vermont, founded in 1935

St. Francis School - A progressive K-8 school in Goshen, Kentucky Sequoyah School - A child-centered/progressive school for 5- to 14-year-olds in Pasadena, California The School in Rose Valley - SRV is a pre-school through 6th grade, co-educational day school near Philadelphia. It was founded in 1929 based on John Dewey's principles.

Stevens Cooperative School (Hoboken, NJ) Founded in 1949, Stevens Cooperative School focuses on delivering a progressive education and is the only nonsectarian private elementary school in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

Summers-Knoll School - A progressive K-8 independent school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Chatsworth Hills Academy - Preschool through 8th grade located in Chatsworth, California (San Fernando Valley)

Wildwood School Wildwood School is a K-12, co-educational, college preparatory day school located in Los Angeles, California. As a nationally acclaimed independent school founded on a progressive, research-based approach, Wildwood emphasizes academic excellence and instills a genuine passion for learning. The program focuses on project-based learning, a proven methodology that blends math, science, the arts, and humanities to provide students with a deep educational experience.

Voyagers' Community School - A progressive, independent, private school for Early Kindergarten through 12th grade located in Farmingdale, New Jersey, founded in 2004

Far Brook School - A progressive independent school for grades preK-8 in Short Hills, NJ, founded in 1948.


Bank Street College of Education - Founded in 1916, Bank Street is known for its progressive educational approach. Combining current scholarship on child-centered education, psychological development, and practical experience, the College offers three program areas: The Graduate School of Education, Children's Programs, and the Division of Continuing Education. The Bank Street Bookstore specializes in children's books and educational materials for children and educators, and is considered one of the best children's bookstores in New York City.

Goddard College - A progressive college founded on the ideals and work of John Dewey. Goddard offers BA, MA and MFA low residency programs in Writing, Education, Psychology, Health Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts and Individually designed programs for working adults. Eight day residencies in Plainfield, Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington

Soka University of America - A four year college founded in 2001 in Aliso Viejo, California. The Evergreen State College - A state sponsored college in Olympia, Washington that emphasizes book seminars, an open interdisciplinary curricula with students taking a single course at a time that may last several quarters and written evaluations rather than numerical grades.

Antioch College - the result of American educator Horace Mann's dream to establish a college comparable to Harvard but with some notable differences. This college was to be completely non-sectarian and coeducational, and with a curriculum that would not only include the traditional treatment of the classics, but would emphasize science and the scientific method, history and modern literature of

Sarah Lawrence College- a private, independent, co-educational liberal arts college founded on the principles of John Dewey. Its unique pedagogy, emphasizing students' individual development through tutorials ("conferencing") and personal mentoring of students by faculty ("donning"), together with an emphasis on writing, an open curriculum and education of the "whole person"produces engaged students in fields that range from the arts to medicine; from public service to law.

Union Institute & University BA program in Montpelier and Brattleboro, Vermont, offering Bachelor of Arts in low-residency and online programs, a leader in progressive student-centered higher education for working adults. Offering Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Women's and Gender Studies, Literature and Writing, Psychology, Education, Historical, Social and Cultural Studies, the Arts, Religious, Spiritual and Holitistic Studies, Environmental Studies, and a Teacher Licensure Program. The low-residency M.Ed. in Montpelier, Vermont is designed for working adults and uses a progressive, student-centered model.

Bennington College - a small, liberal arts school with a self-designed baccalaureate program described as the "Plan Process" in which students collaborate with faculty to establish their own requirements, often across many fields. The school claims to not have disciplinary boundaries, so students do not major, but rather concentrate in a field or concept.


Laborschule Bielefeld - Founded in 1974, the Laborschule in Bielefeld (Germany) is named by the German translation of laboratory school. The Laborschule explicitly uses democratic concepts as suggested by Dewey. Studies in the last years have proven the successful implementation of these concepts into a living community.

See also[edit source]

Constructionist learning (Seymour Papert) Constitutional economics Political economy Rule according to higher law Student voice Experiential education Educational philosophies Education reform Humanistic education Laboratory school Learning by teaching (LdL) Teaching for social justice Minnesota State University, Mankato Masters Degree in Experiential Education Democratic education Oswego Movement

Positive education

References[edit source]
1. Jump up^ "The Progressive Education Movement: Is it Still a Factor in Today's Schools?". Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 2. 3. 4. Jump up^ "History of Public Education". Jump up^ J. Korczak, Czytelnia dla Wszystkich [Universal Reader], no. 52, 1899, p. 2. Jump up^ Lewowicki, T., 1994, Janusz Korczak, Prospects:the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIV, no. 1/2, 1994, p. 37 48 5. Jump up^ Barrow Street Nursery School--A private progressive nursery school in the West Village of Manhattan. New York, NY 10014 6. 7. 8. 9. Jump up^ World Book 2004 Jump up^ /A Brief Overview of Progressive Education Jump up^ / International Journal of Progressive Education Jump up^ / Progressive Education: Contrasting Methodologies by Steven Nelson

10. Jump up^ Frederick P. Sperounis (June 1980). The limits of progressive school reform in the 1970's: a case study. University Press of America. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8191-1031-2. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 11. Jump up^ Daniel Linden Duke (September 1978). The retransformation of the school: the emergence of contemporary alternative schools in the United States . Nelson-Hall. ISBN 978-0-88229-294-6. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 12. Jump up^ List of University of Chicago Laboratory Schools people 13. Jump up^ Bill Ayers on Education 14. Jump up^ Peterson, Robert W. (1984). The Boy Scouts: An American Adventure. American Heritage. ISBN 0-8281-1173-1. 15. Jump up^ Peterson, Robert (2001). "The Man Who Got Lost in the Fog". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). Retrieved 2008-06-24. 16. Jump up^ Rowan, Edward L (2005). To Do My Best: James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America. Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. ISBN 0-9746479-1-8. 17. Jump up^ "Lee F. Hanmer, 89, A Social Worker" (PDF). The New York Times. 1961-04-28. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 18. ^ Jump up to:
a b

Peterson, Robert (1998). "The BSA's 'forgotten' founding father". Scouting Magazine. Boy

Scouts of America. Retrieved 2006-03-10. 19. Jump up^ Macleod, David L. (1983). Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA and Their Forerunners, 18701920. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-09400-6.

20. Jump up^ Powell, Alvin (Oct 11, 2007). "How Sputnik changed U.S. education". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 21. Jump up^ National Defense Education Act 22. Jump up^ Alfie Kohn (30 September 1999). Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-547-52615-7. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 23. Jump up^ Maria Montessori (1 September 2006). The Montessori Method. Cosimo, Inc. p. 21. ISBN 978-159605-943-6. Retrieved 8 June 2013.

Further reading[edit source]

Bernstein, Richard J. John Dewey, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, New York: Macmillan, 1967, 380-385 Kevin J. Brehony, What's Left of Progressive Primary Education. Rethinking Radical Education. A. Rattansi and D. Reeder. London, Lawrence and Wishart: 1992: 196-221.

Kevin J. Brehony. "An undeniable and disastrous Influence? John Dewey and English Education (1895 1939)." Oxford Review of Education 23(4) 1997: 427-445.

Kevin J. Brehony "From the particular to the general, the continuous to the discontinuous: progressive education revisited." History of Education 30(5) 2001: 413-432.

Beck, Robert. "Progressive Education and American Progressivism: Margaret Naumburg." Teachers College Record, 60(4) (1959), 198-208.

Bruner, Jerome. The Process of Education. New York: Random House, 1960 Bruner, Jerome. The Relevance of Education. New York: Norton, 1971. Cappel, Constance, Utopian Colleges, New York: Peter Lang, 1999. Cremin, Lawrence. The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876-1957. New York: Knopf, 1962

Dewey, John. Experience and Education. New York: Kappa Delta Pi 1938 Dewey, John. Dewey on Education, edited by Martin Dworkin. New York: Teachers college Press, 1959 Dewey, John. Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press, 1944. Dewey, John. Experience and Nature. New York: Dover, 1958. Harms, William and De Pencier, Ida. Experiencing Education: 100 Years of Learning at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, 1996

Hayes, William, The Progressive Education Movement: Is it Still a Factor in Todays Schools? New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006

Flesch, Rudolf, Why Johnny Cant Read, New York: Harper and Row, 1955 Holt, John, How Children Fail, New York: Pitman, 1964

Knoester, Matthew. Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School. New York: Teachers College Press, 2012.

Kohn, Alfie. The Case Against Standardized Testing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000 Kohn, Alfie. The Schools Our Children Deserve. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999 Kozol, Jonathon. Free Schools, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972 Kohl, Herb. The Discipline of Hope, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998 Kohl, Herb. Teaching the Unteachable, New York Review of Books, 1967. Mager, Robert F. Preparing Behavioral Objectives, Atlanta, Georgia, Center for Effective Instruction, 1969 Noddings, Nel. What Does it Mean to Educate the Whole Child? Educational Leadership, September 2005, volume 63, no 1

Progressive Education Network. Ravitch, Dianne. Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform. New York, Simon and Schuster, 2000.

Schutz, Aaron. Social Class, Social Action, and Education: The Failure of Progressive Democracy. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. introduction

Evers, Williamson M. "How Progressive Education Gets It Wrong". Hoover Institute.

Progressivism Philosophy of Education What is Progressivism? Progressivism philosophy in education is related to young students of education. This philosophy explains that students should plan ideas by being actively involved. By definition, it is a form of educational philosophy that sees nature as ever-changing. Because the world is always changing and new situations require new problems, learners must develop as problem solvers. Like romanticism, the progressive education advocates of the progressive viewpoint believe that people are naturally exploring, inquiring entitles. When faced with an obstacle, they would try to find a way to overcome it. Someday, I would want to be hired as a teacher so that I can show others that I care about the students earning an education. I would want to tell them my experiences as a student and help them understand the processes of going to the next level. I believe that the beginning of education is when the students would want to be more involved with nature itself. The main goal for the teachers is to identify what each student likes to do with their interests or challenge their concerns. Once they are noticed, then the teachers would fix the problems or achieve more challenges to the student's interests. From my point of view, active teachers provide skills so that students can learn by following the procedures. If I was a teacher, I would want to help the students develop strategies of bring success to the subjects that I would teach. The focus for me is to teach students on how to think rather than what to think. Education aims to develop a problem-solving ability. Learning is fixed by answering questions that risen throughout the world. The learner is the problem solver and thinks of ideas that make a sense through his or her individual experience in ways that involve either mental or physical situations.

Based on what I know about this philosophy, I would have to agree on the process that is explains. The reason why I say that is because I believe that the students should be aware of how the nature is changing and they react to it by using their skills and interests towards the classroom. It proves to the teachers that the procedures for the class would be kept and every student would do well once the results come along. It is clear that every student does have different interests, which could be complicating. However, that's the teacher's job to realize the strengths and weaknesses then proceed on making adjustments on the procedures. The students would have to go through a certain method to perform experiments and analyze the data. The teachers can guide them in developing the importance of education. One important desire for the students is knowledge. When it comes to this philosophy, the knowledge is the ability to understand the human resources. Knowledge continually be redefined and rediscovered to keep up with the changes.

Read more:

Edit 0 4

Progressivism Sarah Frisbie The objective of this essay is to articulate a basic understanding of the educational philosophy of progressivism by describing the key principles of this philosophy and describing the major contributions of one key scholar within this particular philosophy. In order to understand this particular philosophy of education, it is important to be aware of the factors that influenced it. The earliest signs of progressivism can be traced back to ancient Greece with Platos insistence that his students acquire years of practical hands on experience through learning by doing (Brameld). During the Renaissance, well-known scholar Johann Comenius argued that life itself is a learning process in which individuals gain knowledge through personal experiences encountered in each of lifes phases. The concept of the child-centered school was conceived by philosopher JeanJacques Rousseau during the French Revolution. And most recently, progressivism was shaped by the Industrial Revolution, the methods of modern science, and the rise of modern democratic societies (Brameld), all of which facilitated transitions from high levels of interdependence of the individual to high levels of independence and freedom with respect to the individual. Three of the major principles of the progressivism philosophy of education are

pragmatism, experimentalism, and individualism. Pragmatism refers to the practicality of what is being learned, the extent to which the concept being learned is relevant or meaningful to the learner, and the process through which the learner acquires a piece of knowledge. Progressivism argues that education should be presented to students in such a way that the content being learned is practical and will enhance students skill sets inside and outside of the classroom. Progressivism is also concerned with the concept of hands on experience in which the learner is exposed to problem solving in a natural and contextual setting so that the concept being learned can be accurately applied to situations encountered in the real world. Progressivism also argues that educational content should be connected to what the student already knows so that the student can build upon his or her prior knowledge. These aspects of the progressivism philosophy can be traced to the ideas of Plato and Johann Comenius. Experimentalism holds that men, their skills and intelligence, are the sole reliable guide to their own destinies (Brameld, 30). This principle ties into the philosophy of progressivism because a major theme in this philosophy is the active participation of the individual in his or her own growth and development. The progressivist would say that participation is important because the extent to which a person is active in his own growth and development can positively or negatively affect the course of his life. This aspect of the progressivism philosophy of education can be traced to the rise of modern democratic societies in which individuals were encouraged to actively participate in government. Individualism refers to the extent that educational content is tailored to the individual needs of each student. Progressivism argues that because each student is unique and learns in a specific way, educational content should be presented in such a way that meets the needs of all students. This aspect of the progressivism philosophy of education can be traced to Rousseau and his idea of a child-centered school. One of the key scholars with regards to the progressivism philosophy of education is John Dewey. Dewey was an educator in the beginning of the 20th century who began to notice that the educational system of that time was not meeting the needs of the children nor of the society in which the children were living and growing up. While technology and science were progressing at a rapid rate, the education that children were receiving, Dewey noticed, was stagnate and static. Through this new educational philosophy Dewey sought to establish an educational system adjusted to the pace of the American societal development (Transilvania). While working at the University of Chicago, Dewey voiced his concerns and proposed ideas on how to address these concerns with leading schools reformers of the time, such as Francis W. Parker and Ella Flagg Young. Between 1900 and 1916, Dewey publicized his ideas through works such as The School and Society, Schools of Tomorrow, and Democracy and Education. In the 1920s, the works and ideas of Dewey had a huge influence in founding not only many schools that were pioneers in implementing

the progressive philosophy of education but also the Progressive Education Association. This organization, currently known as the Progressive Education Network, initially concentrated on reforming the educational system of the United States by focusing on a more student-centered approach to education. Beginning in 2007, the Progressive Education Network has held bi-annual national conferences which seek to connect and support educators in their efforts to improve American education with the progressivism philosophy in mind. This essay has articulated basic understanding of the progressivism philosophy of education by discussing three major principles of this particular philosophy and by briefly describing the contributions made by John Dewey, one of the key scholars related to the progressivism philosophy of education.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Existential" redirects here. For the logical sense of the term see Existential quantification. For other uses see Existence (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Essentialism

From left to right, top to bottom:Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche,Sartre

Existentialism is a term applied to the work of certain late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[1][2][3]shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subjectnot merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.[4] In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of

disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.[5] Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.[6][7] Sren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, [1][8][9] though he did not use the term existentialism. He proposed that each individualnot society or religionis solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely ("authentically").[10][11] Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.[12]

1 Definitional issues and background 2 Concepts

o o o o o o o

2.1 Existence precedes essence 2.2 The Absurd 2.3 Facticity 2.4 Authenticity 2.5 The Other and the Look 2.6 Angst 2.7 Despair

3 Opposition to positivism and rationalism 4 Existentialism and religion 5 Existentialism and nihilism 6 Etymology 7 History

7.1 19th century

o o

7.1.1 Kierkegaard and Nietzsche 7.1.2 Dostoyevsky

7.2 Early 20th century 7.3 After the Second World War

8 Influence outside philosophy

8.1 Art

8.1.1 Film and television

8.1.2 Literature 8.1.3 Theatre

8.2 Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy

9 Criticisms

o o

9.1 General criticisms 9.2 Sartre's philosophy

10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links

Definitional issues and background[edit source]

There has never been general agreement on the definition of existentialism. The term is often seen as a historical convenience as it was first applied to many philosophers in hindsight, long after they had died. In fact, while existentialism is generally considered to have originated with Kierkegaard, the first prominent existentialist philosopher to adopt the term as a self-description wasJean-Paul Sartre. Sartre purports the idea that that which "all existentialists have in common is the fundamental doctrine that existence precedes essence," as scholar F.C.Copleston explains.[13]According to philosopher Steven Crowell, defining existentialism has been relatively difficult, and he argues that it is better understood as a general approach used to reject certain systematic philosophies rather than as a systematic philosophy itself. [1] Although many outside Scandinavia consider the term existentialism to have originated from Kierkegaard himself, it is more likely that Kierkegaard adopted this term (or at least the term "existential" as a description of his philosophy) from the Norwegian poet and literary critic Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven.[14] This assertion comes from two sources. The Norwegian philosopher Erik Lundestad refers to the Danish philosopher Fredrik Christian Sibbern. Sibbern is supposed to have had two conversations in 1841, the first with Welhaven and the second with Kierkegaard. It is in the first conversation that it is believed that Welhaven came up with "a word that he said covered a certain thinking, which had a close and positive attitude to life, a relationship he described as existential".[15] This was then brought to Kierkegaard by Sibbern. The second claim comes from the Norwegian historian Rune Slagstad, who claims to prove that Kierkegaard himself said the term "existential" was borrowed from the poet. He strongly believes that it was Kierkegaard himself who said that "Hegelians do not study philosophy 'existentially'; to use a phrase by Welhaven from one time when I spoke with him about philosophy".[16] On the other hand, the Norwegian historian Anne-Lise Seip is critical of Slagstad, and believes the statement in fact stems from the Norwegian literary historian Cathrinus Bang.[17]

Concepts[edit source]
Existence precedes essence[edit source]
Main article: Existence precedes essence A central proposition of Existentialism is that existence precedes essence, which means that the most important consideration for the individual is the fact that he or she is an individual an independently acting and responsible, conscious being ("existence")rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individual fits ("essence"). The actual life of the individual is what constitutes what could be called his or her "true essence" instead of there being an arbitrarily attributed essence used by others to define him or her. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.[18] Although it was Sartre who explicitly coined the phrase, similar notions can be found in the thought of existentialist philosophers such as Heidegger, and Kierkegaard:
"The subjective thinkers form, the form of his communication, is his style. His form must be just as manifold as are the opposites that he holds together. The systematic eins, zwei, drei is an abstract form that also must inevitably run into trouble whenever it is to be applied to the concrete. To the same degree as the subjective thinker is concrete, to the same degree his form must also be concretely dialectical. But just as he himself is not a poet, not an ethicist, not a dialectician, so also his form is none of theirs directly. His form must first and last be related to existence, and in this regard he must have at his disposal the poetic, the ethical, the dialectical, the religious. Subordinate character, setting, etc., which belong to the well balanced character of the esthetic production, are in themselves breadth; the subjective thinker has only one setting-existence-and has nothing to do with localities and such things. The setting is not the fairyland of the imagination, where poetry produces consummation, nor is the setting laid in England, and historical accuracy is not a concern. The setting is inwardness in existing as a human being; the concretion is the relation of the existence-categories to one another. Historical accuracy and historical actuality are breadth." Sren Kierkegaard (Concluding Postscript, Hong p. 357-358)

It is often claimed in this context that a person defines himself or herself, which is often perceived as stating that they can wish to be somethinganything, a bird, for instanceand then be it. According to most existentialist philosophers, however, this would constitute an inauthentic existence. Instead, the phrase should be taken to say that the person is (1) defined only insofar as he or she acts and (2) that he or she is responsible for his or her actions. For example, someone who acts cruelly towards other people is, by that act, defined as a cruel person. Furthermore, by this action of cruelty, such persons are themselves responsible for their new identity (a cruel person). This is as opposed to their genes, or 'human nature', bearing the blame. As Sartre writes in his work Existentialism is a Humanism: " first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world and defines himself afterwards." Of course, the more positive, therapeutic aspect of this is also implied: A person can choose to act in a different way, and to be a good person instead of a cruel person.

Here it is also clear that since humans can choose to be either cruel or good, they are, in fact, neither of these things essentially.[19]

The Absurd[edit source]

Main article: Absurdism The notion of the Absurd contains the idea that there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond what meaning we give to it. This meaninglessness also encompasses the amorality or "unfairness" of the world. This contrasts with the notion that "bad things don't happen to good people"; to the world, metaphorically speaking, there is no such thing as a good person or a bad person; what happens happens, and it may just as well happen to a "good" person as to a "bad" person.[20] Because of the world's absurdity, at any point in time, anything can happen to anyone, and a tragic event could plummet someone into direct confrontation with the Absurd. The notion of the absurd has been prominent in literature throughout history. Many of the literary works of Sren Kierkegaard, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Eugne Ionesco, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus contain descriptions of people who encounter the absurdity of the world. It is in relation to the concept of the devastating awareness of meaninglessness that Albert Camus claimed that "there is only one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide" in hisThe Myth of Sisyphus. Although "prescriptions" against the possibly deleterious consequences of these kinds of encounters vary, from Kierkegaard's religious "stage" to Camus' insistence on persevering in spite of absurdity, the concern with helping people avoid living their lives in ways that put them in the perpetual danger of having everything meaningful break down is common to most existentialist philosophers. The possibility of having everything meaningful break down poses a threat of quietism, which is inherently against the existentialist philosophy.[21] It has been said that the possibility of suicide makes all humans existentialists. [22]

Facticity[edit source]
Main article: Facticity Facticity is a concept defined by Sartre in Being and Nothingness as the "in-itself", of which humans are in the mode of not being. This can be more easily understood when considering it in relation to the temporal dimension of past: one's past is what one is in the sense that it co-constitutes oneself. However, to say that one is only one's past would be to ignore a significant part of reality (the present and the future), while saying that one's past is only what one was, would entirely detach it from them now. A denial of one's own concrete past constitutes an inauthentic lifestyle, and the same goes for all other kinds of facticity (having a bodye.g. one that doesn't allow a person to run faster than the speed of soundidentity, values, etc.).[23]

Facticity is both a limitation and a condition of freedom. It is a limitation in that a large part of one's facticity consists of things one couldn't have chosen (birthplace, etc.), but a condition in the sense that one's values most likely will depend on it. However, even though one's facticity is "set in stone" (as being past, for instance), it cannot determine a person: The value ascribed to one's facticity is still ascribed to it freely by that person. As an example, consider two men, one of whom has no memory of his past and the other remembers everything. They have both committed many crimes, but the first man, knowing nothing about this, leads a rather normal life while the second man, feeling trapped by his own past, continues a life of crime, blaming his own past for "trapping" him in this life. There is nothing essential about his committing crimes, but he ascribes this meaning to his past. However, to disregard one's facticity when one, in the continual process of self-making, projects oneself into the future, would be to put oneself in denial of oneself, and would thus be inauthentic. In other words, the origin of one's projection will still have to be one's facticity, although in the mode of not being it (essentially). Another aspect of facticity is that it entails angst, both in the sense that freedom "produces" angst when limited by facticity, and in the sense that the lack of the possibility of having facticity to "step in" for one to take responsibility for something one has done also produces angst. What is not implied in this account of existential freedom, however, is that one's values are immutable; a consideration of one's values may cause one to reconsider and change them. A consequence of this fact is that one is responsible for not only one's actions, but also the values one holds. This entails that a reference to common values doesn't excuse the individual's actions: Even though these are the values of the society of which the individual is part, they are also his/her own in the sense that she/he could choose them to be different at any time. Thus, the focus on freedom in existentialism is related to the limits of the responsibility one bears as a result of one's freedom: the relationship between freedom and responsibility is one of interdependency, and a clarification of freedom also clarifies that for which one is responsible. [24][25]

Authenticity[edit source]
Main article: Authenticity Many noted existentialist writers consider the theme of authentic existence to be of importance. Authentic existence involves the idea that one has to "create oneself" and then live in accordance with this self. What is meant by authenticity is that in acting, one should act as oneself, not as "one" acts or as "one's genes" or any other essence requires. The authentic act is one that is in accordance with one's freedom. Of course, as a condition of freedom is facticity, this includes one's facticity, but not to the degree that this facticity can in any way determine one's choices (in the sense that one could then blame one's background for making the choice one made). The role of facticity in relation to authenticity involves letting one's actual values come into play when one makes a choice (instead of, like Kierkegaard's Aesthete, "choosing" randomly), so that one also

takes responsibility for the act instead of choosing either-or without allowing the options to have different values.[26] In contrast to this, the inauthentic is the denial to live in accordance with one's freedom. This can take many forms, from pretending choices are meaningless or random, through convincing oneself that some form of determinism is true, to a sort of "mimicry" where one acts as "one should." How "one" should act is often determined by an image one has of how one such as oneself (say, a bank manager, lion tamer, prostitute, etc.) acts. This image usually corresponds to some sort of social norm, but this does not mean that all acting in accordance with social norms is inauthentic: The main point is the attitude one takes to one's own freedom and responsibility, and the extent to which one acts in accordance with this freedom.

The Other and the Look[edit source]

Main article: Other The Other (when written with a capital "o") is a concept more properly belonging to phenomenology and its account of intersubjectivity. However, the concept has seen widespread use in existentialist writings, and the conclusions drawn from it differ slightly from the phenomenological accounts. The experience of the Other is the experience of another free subject who inhabits the same world as a person does. In its most basic form, it is this experience of the Other that constitutes intersubjectivity and objectivity. To clarify, when one experiences someone else, and this Other person experiences the world (the same world that a person experiences), only from "over there", the world itself is constituted as objective in that it is something that is "there" as identical for both of the subjects; a person experiences the other person as experiencing the same as he or she does. This experience of the Other's look is what is termed the Look (sometimes theGaze).[27] While this experience, in its basic phenomenological sense, constitutes the world as objective, and oneself as objectively existing subjectivity (one experiences oneself as seen in the Other's Look in precisely the same way that one experiences the Other as seen by him, as subjectivity), in existentialism, it also acts as a kind of limitation of one's freedom. This is because the Look tends to objectify what it sees. As such, when one experiences oneself in the Look, one doesn't experience oneself as nothing (no thing), but as something. Sartre's own example of a man peeping at someone through a keyhole can help clarify this: at first, this man is entirely caught up in the situation he is in; he is in a pre-reflexive state where his entire consciousness is directed at what goes on in the room. Suddenly, he hears a creaking floorboard behind him, and he becomes aware of himself as seen by the Other. He is thus filled with shame for he perceives himself as he would perceive someone else doing what he was doing, as a Peeping Tom. The Look is then co-constitutive of one's facticity. Another characteristic feature of the Look is that no Other really needs to have been there: It is quite possible that the creaking floorboard was nothing but the movement of an old house; the Look isn't some kind of

mystical telepathic experience of the actual way the other sees one (there may also have been someone there, but he could have not noticed that the person was there). It is only one's perception of the way another might perceive him.

Angst[edit source]
Main article: Angst "Existential angst", sometimes called dread, anxiety, or anguish, is a term that is common to many existentialist thinkers. It is generally held to be a negative feeling arising from the experience of human freedom and responsibility. The archetypal example is the experience one has when standing on a cliff where one not only fears falling off it, but also dreads the possibility of throwing oneself off. In this experience that "nothing is holding me back", one senses the lack of anything that predetermines one to either throw oneself off or to stand still, and one experiences one's own freedom.[20] It can also be seen in relation to the previous point how angst is before nothing, and this is what sets it apart from fear that has an object. While in the case of fear, one can take definitive measures to remove the object of fear, in the case of angst, no such "constructive" measures are possible. The use of the word "nothing" in this context relates both to the inherent insecurity about the consequences of one's actions, and to the fact that, in experiencing one's freedom as angst, one also realizes that one will be fully responsible for these consequences; there is no thing in a person (his or her genes, for instance) that acts in her or his stead, and that he or she can "blame" if something goes wrong. Therefore, not every choice is perceived as having dreadful possible consequences (and, it can be claimed, human lives would be unbearable if every choice facilitated dread). However, this doesn't change the fact that freedom remains a condition of every action. Angst is often described as a drama an adolescent troubles with during their developmental years. This adolescent trouble or self-loathing is often tied to sexual attractiveness, both males and females often feel this angst and worry that they will not find both a partner or romantic conditional love for who they are. As adolescents face the prospect of adulthood where they must take control of their life the dread of both facing life alone and the fear of freedom and responsibility often lead to depression.

Despair[edit source]
Main article: Despair See also: Existential crisis Despair, in existentialism, is generally defined as a loss of hope.[28] More specifically, it is a loss of hope in reaction to a breakdown in one or more of the defining qualities of one's self or identity. If a person is invested in being a particular thing, such as a bus driver or an upstanding citizen, and then finds his being-thing compromised, he would normally be found in state of despair a hopeless state. For example, a singer who

loses her ability to sing may despair if she has nothing else to fall back on, nothing on which to rely for her identity. She finds herself unable to be what defined her being. What sets the existentialist notion of despair apart from the conventional definition is that existentialist despair is a state one is in even when he isn't overtly in despair. So long as a person's identity depends on qualities that can crumble, he is considered to be in perpetual despair. And as there is, in Sartrean terms, no human essence found in conventional reality on which to constitute the individual's sense of identity, despair is a universal human condition. As Kierkegaard defines it in Either/Or: "Let each one learn what he can; both of us can learn that a persons unhappiness never lies in his lack of control over external conditions, since this would only make him completely unhappy."[29] In Works of Love, he said:
When the God-forsaken worldliness of earthly life shuts itself in complacency, the confined air develops poison, the moment gets stuck and stands still, the prospect is lost, a need is felt for a refreshing, enlivening breeze to cleanse the air and dispel the poisonous vapors lest we suffocate in worldliness. ... Lovingly to hope all things is the opposite of despairingly to hopenothing at all. Love hopes all things yet is never put to shame. To relate oneself expectantly to the possibility of the good is to hope. To relate oneself expectantly to the possibility of evil is to fear. By the decision to choose hope one decides infinitely more than it seems, because it is an eternal decision. p. 246-250

Opposition to positivism and rationalism[edit source]

See also: Positivism and Rationalism Existentialists oppose definitions of human beings as primarily rational, and, therefore, oppose positivism and rationalism. Existentialism asserts that people actually make decisions based on subjective meaning rather than pure rationality. The rejection of reason as the source of meaning is a common theme of existentialist thought, as is the focus on the feelings of anxiety and dreadthat we feel in the face of our own radical freedom and our awareness of death. Kierkegaard advocated rationality as means to interact with the objective world (e.g. in the natural sciences), but when it comes to existential problems, reason is insufficient: "Human reason has boundaries".[30] Like Kierkegaard, Sartre saw problems with rationality, calling it a form of "bad faith", an attempt by the self to impose structure on a world of phenomena "the Other" that is fundamentally irrational and random. According to Sartre, rationality and other forms of bad faith hinder people from finding meaning in freedom. To try to suppress their feelings of anxiety and dread, people confine themselves within everyday experience, Sartre asserts, thereby relinquishing their freedom and acquiescing to being possessed in one form or another by "the Look" of "the Other" (i.e. possessed by another person or at least one's idea of that other person).

Existentialism and religion[edit source]

See also: Atheistic existentialism, Christian existentialism, and Jewish existentialism

An existentialist reading of the Bible would demand that the reader recognize that he is an existing subject studying the words more as a recollection of events. This is in contrast to looking at a collection of "truths" that are outside and unrelated to the reader, but may develop who lectures on earnest things a meteor's distance from everyday life or the learner who should put it to use?"[31]

Existentialism and nihilism[edit source]

See also: Existential nihilism Although nihilism and existentialism are distinct philosophies, they are often confused with one another. A primary cause of confusion is that Friedrich Nietzsche is an important philosopher in both fields, but also the existentialist insistence on the inherent meaninglessness of the world. Existentialist philosophers often stress the importance of Angst as signifying the absolute lack of any objective ground for action, a move that is often reduced to a moral or an existential nihilism. A pervasive theme in the works of existentialist philosophy, however, is to persist through encounters with the absurd, as seen in Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus ("One must imagine Sisyphus happy"),[32] and it is only very rarely that existentialist philosophers dismiss morality or one's self-created meaning: Kierkegaard regained a sort of morality in the religious (although he wouldn't himself agree that it was ethical; the religious suspends the ethical), and Sartre's final words inBeing and Nothingness are "All these questions, which refer us to a pure and not an accessory (or impure) reflection, can find their reply only on the ethical plane. We shall devote to them a future work."[33]

Etymology[edit source]
The term "existentialism" was coined by the French Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel in the mid1940s.[34][35][36] At first, when Marcel applied the term to him at a colloquium in 1945, Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it.[37] But later, he changed his mind and, on October 29, 1945, publicly adopted the existentialist label in a lecture to the Club Maintenant in Paris. The lecture was published as L'existentialisme est un humanisme (Existentialism is a Humanism), a short book that did much to popularize existentialist thought.[38] Some scholars argue that the term should be used only to refer to the cultural movement in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s associated with the works of the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre,Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Albert Camus.[1] Other scholars extend the term to Kierkegaard, and yet others extend it as far back as Socrates.[39] However, the term is often identified with the philosophical views of Jean-Paul Sartre.[1]

History[edit source]
19th century[edit source]
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche[edit source]
Main article: Sren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche

See also: Sren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche Sren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche were two of the first philosophers considered fundamental to the existentialist movement, though neither used the term "existentialism" and it is unclear whether they would have supported the existentialism of the 20th century. They focused on subjective human experience rather than the objective truths of mathematics and science, which they believed were too detached or observational to truly get at the human experience. Like Pascal, they were interested in people's quiet struggle with the apparent meaninglessness of life and the use of diversion to escape from boredom. Unlike Pascal, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche also considered the role of making free choices, particularly regarding fundamental values and beliefs, and how such choices change the nature and identity of the chooser.[40] Kierkegaard's knight of faith and Nietzsche's bermensch are representative of people who exhibit Freedom, in that they define the nature of their own existence. Nietzsche's idealized individual invents his or her own values and creates the very terms they excel under. By contrast, Kierkegaard, opposed to the level of abstraction in Hegel, and not nearly as hostile (actually welcoming) to Christianity as Nietzsche, argues through a pseudonym that the objective certainty of religious truths (specifically Christian) is not only impossible, but even founded on logical paradoxes. Yet he continues to imply that a leap of faith is a possible means for an individual to reach a higher stage of existence that transcends and contains both an aesthetic and ethical value of life. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were also precursors to other intellectual movements, including postmodernism, and various strands of psychology. However, Kierkegaard believed that an individual should live in accordance with his or her thinking.

Dostoyevsky[edit source]
Main article: Fyodor Dostoyevsky The first important literary author also important to existentialism was the Russian Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[41] Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground portrays a man unable to fit into society and unhappy with the identities he creates for himself. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his book on existentialism Existentialism is a Humanism, quoted Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov as an example ofexistential crisis. Sartre attributes Ivan Karamazov's claim, "If God did not exist, everything would be permitted"[42] to Dostoyevsky himself. Other Dostoyevsky novels covered issues raised in existentialist philosophy while presenting story lines divergent from secular existentialism: for example, in Crime and Punishment, the protagonist Raskolnikov experiences an existential crisis and then moves toward a Christian Orthodox worldview similar to that advocated by Dostoyevsky himself.[citation needed]

Early 20th century[edit source]

See also: Martin Heidegger

In the first decades of the 20th century, a number of philosophers and writers explored existentialist ideas. The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, in his 1913 book The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations, emphasized the life of "flesh and bone" as opposed to that of abstract rationalism. Unamuno rejected systematic philosophy in favor of the individual's quest for faith. He retained a sense of the tragic, even absurd nature of the quest, symbolized by his enduring interest in Cervantes' fictional character Don Quixote. A novelist, poet and dramatist as well as philosophy professor at the University of Salamanca, Unamuno wrote a short story about a priest's crisis of faith, Saint Manuel the Good, Martyr, which has been collected in anthologies of existentialist fiction. Another Spanish thinker, Ortega y Gasset, writing in 1914, held that human existence must always be defined as the individual person combined with the concrete circumstances of his life: "Yo soy yo y mis circunstancias" ("I am myself and my circumstances"). Sartre likewise believed that human existence is not an abstract matter, but is always situated, also many thought his plays were absurd ("en situacin"). Although Martin Buber wrote his major philosophical works in German, and studied and taught at the Universities of Berlin and Frankfurt, he stands apart from the mainstream of German philosophy. Born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1878, he was also a scholar of Jewish culture and involved at various times in Zionism and Hasidism. In 1938, he moved permanently toJerusalem. His best-known philosophical work was the short book I and Thou, published in 1922. For Buber, the fundamental fact of human existence, too readily overlooked by scientific rationalism and abstract philosophical thought, is "man with man", a dialogue that takes place in the so-called "sphere of between" ("das Zwischenmenschliche").[43] Two Ukrainian/Russian thinkers, Lev Shestov and Nikolai Berdyaev, became well known as existentialist thinkers during their post-Revolutionary exiles in Paris. Shestov, born into a Ukrainian-Jewish family in Kiev, had launched an attack on rationalism and systematization in philosophy as early as 1905 in his book of aphorisms All Things Are Possible. Berdyaev, also from Kiev but with a background in the Eastern Orthodox Church, drew a radical distinction between the world of spirit and the everyday world of objects. Human freedom, for Berdyaev, is rooted in the realm of spirit, a realm independent of scientific notions of causation. To the extent the individual human being lives in the objective world, he is estranged from authentic spiritual freedom. "Man" is not to be interpreted naturalistically, but as a being created in God's image, an originator of free, creative acts.[44] He published a major work on these themes, The Destiny of Man, in 1931. Gabriel Marcel, long before coining the term "existentialism", introduced important existentialist themes to a French audience in his early essay "Existence and Objectivity" (1925) and in hisMetaphysical Journal (1927).[45] A dramatist as well as a philosopher, Marcel found his philosophical starting point in a condition of metaphysical alienation: the human individual searching for harmony in a transient life. Harmony, for Marcel, was to be sought through "secondary reflection", a "dialogical" rather than "dialectical" approach to

the world, characterized by "wonder and astonishment" and open to the "presence" of other people and of God rather than merely to "information" about them. For Marcel, such presence implied more than simply being there (as one thing might be in the presence of another thing); it connoted "extravagant" availability, and the willingness to put oneself at the disposal of the other.[46] Marcel contrasted secondary reflection with abstract, scientific-technical primary reflection, which he associated with the activity of the abstract Cartesian ego. For Marcel, philosophy was a concrete activity undertaken by a sensing, feeling human being incarnate embodied in a concrete world.[45][47] Although Jean-Paul Sartre adopted the term "existentialism" for his own philosophy in the 1940s, Marcel's thought has been described as "almost diametrically opposed" to that of Sartre.[45] Unlike Sartre, Marcel was a Christian, and became a Catholic convert in 1929. In Germany, the psychologist and philosopher Karl Jaspers who later described existentialism as a "phantom" created by the public [48] called his own thought, heavily influenced by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Existenzphilosophie. For Jaspers, "Existenz-philosophy is the way of thought by means of which man seeks to become himself...This way of thought does not cognize objects, but elucidates and makes actual the being of the thinker."[49] Jaspers, a professor at the University of Heidelberg, was acquainted with Martin Heidegger, who held a professorship at Marburg before acceding to Husserl's chair at Freiburg in 1928. They held many philosophical discussions, but later became estranged over Heidegger's support of National Socialism. They shared an admiration for Kierkegaard,[50] and in the 1930s, Heidegger lectured extensively on Nietzsche. Nevertheless, the extent to which Heidegger should be considered an existentialist is debatable. In Being and Time he presented a method of rooting philosophical explanations in human existence (Dasein) to be analysed in terms of existential categories (existentiale); and this has led many commentators to treat him as an important figure in the existentialist movement.

After the Second World War[edit source]

See also: Jean-Paul Sartre Following the Second World War, existentialism became a well-known and significant philosophical and cultural movement, mainly through the public prominence of two French writers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, who wrote best-selling novels, plays and widely read journalism as well as theoretical texts. These years also saw the growing reputation of Heidegger's book Being and Time outside of Germany.[citation needed]

French philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

Sartre dealt with existentialist themes in his 1938 novel Nausea and the short stories in his 1939 collection The Wall, and had published his treatise on existentialism, Being and Nothingness, in 1943, but it was in the two years following the liberation of Paris from the German occupying forces that he and his close associates Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others became internationally famous as the leading figures of a movement known as existentialism.[51] In a very short space of time, Camus and Sartre in particular became the leading public intellectuals of post-war France, achieving by the end of 1945 "a fame that reached across all audiences."[52] Camus was an editor of the most popular leftist (former French Resistance) newspaperCombat; Sartre launched his journal of leftist thought, Les Temps Modernes, and two weeks later gave the widely reported lecture on existentialism and secular humanism to a packed meeting of the Club Maintenant. Beauvoir wrote that "not a week passed without the newspapers discussing us"; [53] existentialism became "the first media craze of the postwar era."[54] By the end of 1947, Camus' earlier fiction and plays had been reprinted, his new play Caligula had been performed and his novel The Plague published; the first two novels of Sartre's The Roads to Freedom trilogy had appeared, as had Beauvoir's novel The Blood of Others. Works by Camus and Sartre were already appearing in foreign editions. The Paris-based existentialists had become famous.[51] Sartre had traveled to Germany in 1930 to study the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger,[55] and he included critical comments on their work in his major treatise Being and Nothingness. Heidegger's thought had also become known in French philosophical circles through its use by Alexandre Kojve in explicating Hegel in a series of lectures given in Paris in the 1930s.[56] The lectures were highly influential; members of the audience included not only Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, but Raymond

Queneau, Georges Bataille, Louis Althusser, Andr Breton, and Jacques Lacan.[57] A selection from Heidegger's Being and Time was published in French in 1938, and his essays began to appear in French philosophy journals.

French-Algerian philosopher, novelist, and playwright Albert Camus

Heidegger read Sartre's work and was initially impressed, commenting: "Here for the first time I encountered an independent thinker who, from the foundations up, has experienced the area out of which I think. Your work shows such an immediate comprehension of my philosophy as I have never before encountered."[58] Later, however, in response to a question posed by his French follower Jean Beaufret,[59] Heidegger distanced himself from Sartre's position and existentialism in general in his Letter on Humanism.[60] Heidegger's reputation continued to grow in France during the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s, Sartre attempted to reconcile existentialism and Marxism in his work Critique of Dialectical Reason. A major theme throughout his writings was freedom and responsibility. Camus was a friend of Sartre, until their falling-out, and wrote several works with existential themes including The Rebel, The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, and Summer in Algiers. Camus, like many others, rejected the existentialist label, and considered his works to be concerned with facing the absurd. In the titular book, Camus uses the analogy of the Greek myth of Sisyphus to demonstrate the futility of existence. In the myth, Sisyphus is condemned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill, but when he reaches the summit, the rock will roll to the bottom again. Camus believes that this existence is pointless but that Sisyphus ultimately finds meaning and purpose in his task, simply by continually applying himself to it. The first half of the book contains an extended rebuttal of what Camus took to be existentialist philosophy in the works of Kierkegaard, Shestov, Heidegger, and Jaspers. Simone de Beauvoir, an important existentialist who spent much of her life as Sartre's partner, wrote about feminist and existentialist ethics in her works, including The Second Sex and The Ethics of Ambiguity. Although often overlooked due to her relationship with Sartre,[citation needed] de Beauvoir integrated existentialism with other forms of thinking such as feminism, unheard of at the time, resulting in alienation from fellow writers such as Camus.[citation needed] Paul Tillich, an important existentialist theologian following Kierkegaard and Karl Barth, applied existentialist concepts to Christian theology, and helped introduce existential theology to the general public. His seminal work The Courage to Be follows Kierkegaard's analysis of anxiety and life's absurdity, but puts forward the thesis that modern humans must, via God, achieve selfhood in spite of life's absurdity. Rudolf Bultmann used Kierkegaard's and Heidegger's philosophy of existence to demythologize Christianity by interpreting Christian mythical concepts into existentialist concepts.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, an existential phenomenologist, was for a time a companion of Sartre. His understanding of Husserl's phenomenology was far greater than that of Merleau-Ponty's fellow existentialists.[vague] It has been said that his work Humanism and Terror greatly influenced Sartre. However, in later years they were to disagree irreparably, dividing many existentialists such as de Beauvoir, [citation needed] who sided with Sartre. Colin Wilson, an English writer, published his study The Outsider in 1956, initially to critical acclaim. In this book and others (e.g. Introduction to the New Existentialism), he attempted to reinvigorate what he perceived as a pessimistic philosophy and bring it to a wider audience. He was not, however, academically trained, and his work was attacked by professional philosophers for lack of rigor and critical standards. [61]

Influence outside philosophy[edit source]

Art[edit source]
Film and television[edit source]
The French director Jean Genet's 1950 fantasy-erotic film Un chant d'amour shows two inmates in solitary cells whose only contact is through a hole in their cell wall, who are spied on by the prison warden. Reviewer James Travers calls the film a, "...visual poem evoking homosexual desire and existentialist suffering," which "... conveys the bleakness of an existence in a godless universe with painful believability"; he calls it "... probably the most effective fusion of existentialist philosophy and cinema."[62] Stanley Kubrick's 1957 anti-war film Paths of Glory "illustrates, and even illuminates...existentialism" by examining the "necessary absurdity of the human condition" and the "horror of war".[63]The film tells the story of a fictional World War I French army regiment ordered to attack an impregnable German stronghold; when the attack fails, three soldiers are chosen at random, court-martialed by a "kangaroo court", and executed by firing squad. The film examines existentialist ethics, such as the issue of whether objectivity is possible and the "problem of authenticity".[63] Neon Genesis Evangelion, commonly referred to as Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese science-fiction animation series created by the anime studio Gainax and was both directed and written byHideaki Anno. Existential themes of individuality, consciousness, freedom, choice, and responsibility are heavily relied upon throughout the entire series, particularly through the philosophies ofJean-Paul Sartre and Sren Kierkegaard. Episode 16's title, "The Sickness Unto Death, And" ( Shi ni itaru yamai, soshite?) is a reference to Kierkegaard's book, The Sickness Unto Death. On the lighter side, the British comedy troupe Monty Python have explored existentialist themes throughout their works, from many of the sketches in their original television show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, to their 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.[64]

Some contemporary films dealing with existentialist issues include Fight Club, I Huckabees, Waking Life, The Matrix, Ordinary People, and Life in a Day.[65] Likewise, films throughout the 20th century such as The Seventh Seal, Ikiru, Taxi Driver, Toy Story, Harold and Maude, High Noon, Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, A Clockwork Orange, Groundhog Day, Apocalypse Now, Badlands, and Blade Runner also have existentialist qualities.[66] The Matrix has been compared with another movie, Dark City[67] where the issues of identity and reality are raised. In Dark City, the inhabitants of the city are situated in a world controlled bydemiurges, much like the prisoners in Plato's cave, in which prisoners see a world of shadows reflected onto a cave wall, rather than the world as it actually is.[68] Notable directors known for their existentialist films include Ingmar Bergman, Franois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, Akira Kurosawa, Terrence Malick, Stanley Kubrick,Andrei Tarkovsky, Hideaki Anno, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, and Christopher Nolan.[69] Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York focuses on the protagonist's desire to find existential meaning.[70] Similarly, in Kurosawa's Red Beard, the protagonist's experiences as an intern in a rural health clinic in Japan lead him to an existential crisis whereby he questions his reason for being. This, in turn, leads him to a better understanding of humanity. Recently released French film, Mood Indigo (film) (directed by Michel Gondry) embraced various elements of existentialism.

Literature[edit source]
Existential perspectives are also found in literature to varying degrees since 1922. Louis-Ferdinand Cline's Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit, 1932) celebrated by both Sartre and Beauvoir, contained many of the themes that would be found in later existential literature, and is in some ways, the proto-existential novel. Jean-Paul Sartre's 1938 novel Nausea[71]was "steeped in Existential ideas", and is considered an accessible way of grasping his philosophical stance.[72] Between 1910 and 1960, other authors such as Albert Camus, Franz Kafka,Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Eliot, Herman Hesse and Jack Kerouac, composed literature or poetry that contained, to varying degrees, elements of existential or proto-existential thought. Since the late 1960s, a great deal of cultural activity in literature contains postmodernist as well as existential elements. Books such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) (now republished asBlade Runner) by Philip K. Dick, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk all distort the line between reality and appearance while simultaneously espousing existential themes. Ideas from such writers as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Michel Foucault, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sren Kierkegaard, Herbert Marcuse, Gilles Deleuze, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Eduard von Hartmann permeate the works of modern novelists such as Chuck Palahniuk, Crispin Glover, and Charles Bukowski, and one often finds in their works a delicate balance between distastefulness and beauty.

Theatre[edit source]

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote No Exit in 1944, an existentialist play originally published in French as Huis Clos (meaning In Camera or "behind closed doors"), which is the source of the popular quote, "Hell is other people." (In French, "L'enfer, c'est les autres"). The play begins with a Valet leading a man into a room that the audience soon realizes is in hell. Eventually he is joined by two women. After their entry, the Valet leaves and the door is shut and locked. All three expect to be tortured, but no torturer arrives. Instead, they realize they are there to torture each other, which they do effectively by probing each other's sins, desires, and unpleasant memories. Existentialist themes are displayed in the Theatre of the Absurd, notably in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, in which two men divert themselves while they wait expectantly for someone (or something) named Godot who never arrives. They claim Godot to be an acquaintance, but in fact hardly know him, admitting they would not recognize him if they saw him. Samuel Beckett, once asked who or what Godot is, replied, "If I knew, I would have said so in the play." To occupy themselves, the men eat, sleep, talk, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplatesuicideanything "to hold the terrible silence at bay".[73] The play "exploits several archetypal forms and situations, all of which lend themselves to both comedy and pathos."[74] The play also illustrates an attitude toward human experience on earth: the poignancy, oppression, camaraderie, hope, corruption, and bewilderment of human experience that can be reconciled only in the mind and art of the absurdist. The play examines questions such as death, the meaning of human existence and the place of God in human existence. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist tragicomedy first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966.[75] The play expands upon the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Comparisons have also been drawn to Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, for the presence of two central characters who almost appear to be two halves of a single character. Many plot features are similar as well: the characters pass time by playing Questions, impersonating other characters, and interrupting each other or remaining silent for long periods of time. The two characters are portrayed as two clowns or fools in a world that is beyond their understanding. They stumble through philosophical arguments while not realizing the implications, and muse on the irrationality and randomness of the world. Jean Anouilh's Antigone also presents arguments founded on existentialist ideas.[76] It is a tragedy inspired by Greek mythology and the play of the same name (Antigone, by Sophocles) from the 5th century BC. In English, it is often distinguished from its antecedent by being pronounced in its original French form, approximately "Ante-GN." The play was first performed in Paris on 6 February 1944, during the Nazi occupation of France. Produced under Nazi censorship, the play is purposefully ambiguous with regards to the rejection of authority (represented by Antigone) and the acceptance of it (represented by Creon). The parallels to the French Resistance and the Nazi occupation have been drawn. Antigone rejects life as desperately meaningless but without affirmatively choosing a noble death. The crux of the play is the lengthy dialogue concerning the nature

of power, fate, and choice, during which Antigone says that she is, "... disgusted with [the]...promise of a humdrum happiness." She states that she would rather die than live a mediocre existence. Critic Martin Esslin in his book Theatre of the Absurd pointed out how many contemporary playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, Eugne Ionesco, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov wove into their plays the existentialist belief that we are absurd beings loose in a universe empty of real meaning. Esslin noted that many of these playwrights demonstrated the philosophy better than did the plays by Sartre and Camus. Though most of such playwrights, subsequently labeled "Absurdist" (based on Esslin's book), denied affiliations with existentialism and were often staunchly anti-philosophical (for example Ionesco often claimed he identified more with 'Pataphysics or with Surrealism than with existentialism), the playwrights are often linked to existentialism based on Esslin's observation.[77]

Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy[edit source]

Main article: Existential therapy A major offshoot of existentialism as a philosophy is existentialist psychology and psychoanalysis, which first crystallized in the work of Otto Rank, Freud's closest associate for 20 years. Without awareness of the writings of Rank, Ludwig Binswanger was influenced by Freud, Edmund Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. A later figure was Viktor Frankl, who briefly met Freud and studied with Jung as a young man.[78] His logotherapy can be regarded as a form of existentialist therapy. The existentialists would also influence social psychology, antipositivist micro-sociology, symbolic interactionism, and post-structuralism, with the work of thinkers such as Georg Simmel[79] and Michel Foucault. Foucault was a great reader of Kierkegaard even though he almost never refers this author, who nonetheless had for him an importance as secret as it was decisive. [80] An early contributor to existentialist psychology in the United States was Rollo May, who was strongly influenced by Kierkegaard and Otto Rank. One of the most prolific writers on techniques and theory of existentialist psychology in the USA is Irvin D. Yalom. Yalom states that Aside from their reaction against Freud's mechanistic, deterministic model of the mind and their assumption of a phenomenological approach in therapy, the existentialist analysts have little in common and have never been regarded as a cohesive ideological school. These thinkers - who include Ludwig Binswanger, Medard Boss, Eugne Minkowski, V.E. Gebsattel, Roland Kuhn, G. Caruso, F.T. Buytendijk, G. Bally and Victor Frankl - were almost entirely unknown to the American psychotherapeutic community until Rollo May's highly influential 1985 book Existence - and especially his introductory essay - introduced their work into this country.[81] A more recent contributor to the development of a European version of existentialist psychotherapy is the British-based Emmy van Deurzen.

Anxiety's importance in existentialism makes it a popular topic in psychotherapy. Therapists often offer existentialist philosophy as an explanation for anxiety. The assertion is that anxiety is manifested of an individual's complete freedom to decide, and complete responsibility for the outcome of such decisions. Psychotherapists using an existentialist approach believe that a patient can harness his anxiety and use it constructively. Instead of suppressing anxiety, patients are advised to use it as grounds for change. By embracing anxiety as inevitable, a person can use it to achieve his full potential in life. Humanistic psychology also had major impetus from existentialist psychology and shares many of the fundamental tenets. Terror management theory, based on the writings of Ernest Becker and Otto Rank, is a developing area of study within the academic study of psychology. It looks at what researchers claim to be the implicit emotional reactions of people confronted with the knowledge that they will eventually die.

Criticisms[edit source]
General criticisms[edit source]
Logical positivist philosophers, such as Rudolf Carnap and Alfred Ayer, assert that existentialists are often confused about the verb "to be" in their analyses of "being".[82] Specifically, they argue that the verb is transitive and pre-fixed to a predicate (e.g., an apple is red) (without a predicate, the word is meaningless), and that existentialists frequently misuse the term in this manner. Raymond Aron was a leader among those that did not embrace existentialism, and considered themselves rational humanists.[83][84]

Sartre's philosophy[edit source]

Many critics argue Sartre's philosophy is contradictory. Specifically, they argue that Sartre makes metaphysical arguments despite his claiming that his philosophical views ignore metaphysics.Herbert Marcuse criticized Being and Nothingness (1943) by Jean-Paul Sartre for projecting anxiety and meaninglessness onto the nature of existence itself: "Insofar as Existentialism is a philosophical doctrine, it remains an idealistic doctrine: it hypostatizes specific historical conditions of human existence into ontological and metaphysical characteristics. Existentialism thus becomes part of the very ideology which it attacks, and its radicalism is illusory".[85] In Letter on Humanism, Heidegger criticized Sartre's existentialism: Existentialism says existence precedes essence. In this statement he is taking existentia and essentia according to their metaphysical meaning, which, from Plato's time on, has said that essentia precedes existentia. Sartre reverses this statement. But the reversal of a metaphysical statement remains a metaphysical statement. With it, he stays with metaphysics, in oblivion of the truth of Being.[86]

Existentialism As an Educational Philosophy

Posted on November 12, 2011 by admin

Dr. V.K. Maheshwari, Former Principal K.L.D.A.V(P.G) College, Roorkee, India.

Because I exist, because I think, therefore, I think that I exist. According to the statement I think it is clear that I exists and it has existence. I that exists is always subjective and not objective. Now the person because of knowing the object does not desire to know the object, but he emerges himself in knowing the self. Kierkegaard Existentialism is the most individualistic of all modern philosophies. Its overriding concern is with the individual and its primary value is the absolute freedom of the person, who is only what he, makes himself to be, and who is the final and exclusive arbiter of the values he freely determines for himself. Great emphasis is placed on art, on literature, and the humanistic studies, for it is in these areas that man finds himself and discovers what values he will seek to attain. The term existentialism seems to have been coined by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel and adopted by Jean-Paul Sartre, Etymological meaning of existence from two German words -: ex-sistent meaning that which stands out, that which emerges suggests that existentialism is a philosophy that emerges out of problems of life. Initially Existentialism may appear to be a morbid philosophy because it deals with depressing themes such as alienation, anxiety, death and crises. To conclude this however, would be to misunderstand it. An expressed purpose of so many of the philosophers, who have contributed to this school of thought, is to allow people to experience a greater richness and happiness in their lives and to feel at home in their world. In order to achieve a richer and more valuable existence however, the philosophy often refers to some uncomfortable suggestions

Just as the whole of Indian philosophy is an extension, interpretation, criticism and corroboration of the Vedas and in it the Upanishads or an outright revolt against them, similarly it may be remarked of western philosophy as either a clarification of Socrates or his rejection. One would be still right in saying that the whole of western philosophy is an appendix on Socrates. So it is even true with existentialism that Socrates has been considered to be the first existentialist. Socrates statement: I am and always have been a man to obey nothing in my nature except the reasoning which upon reflection, appears to be the best. Right from Plato down to Descartes, the majority of western thinkers have believed in the immutability of ideas and the rest of the thinkers have been suggesting correctives to it. Anyhow their frame of reference has always been Essence Precedes Existence, essence being referred to ideas, values, ideals, thoughts, etc. and existence being referred to our lives. Theoretical Rationale of Existentialism Rather than attempt to define existentialism (which existentialists themselves maintain is futile it might to be better to determine what the task of philosophy is according to the proponents of this school of thought. First of all, the existentialist does not concern himself with problems concerning the nature, origin, and destiny of the physical universe. The philosopher should not even concern himself with the basic assumptions of the physical or biological sciences. Metaphysical Position Concept of God Frederic Nietzsches statement, God is dead, succinctly expresses the atheistic existentialists view on the issue of the existence of a supernatural realm. Nietzsche says: Where is God gone? I mean to tell you! We have killed him you and I! Do we not here the noise of the grave diggers who are burying God? God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed! . The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed had bled to death under our knife . What are our churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God? Assume that God exists and is all-powerful & all-knowing & all-good. Then also assume that evil exists in the world. Then God is either responsible for the existence of evil, in which case God is Himself evil & not all-good; or else God is not responsible for the existence of evil & yet knew that it was going to happen & couldnt prevent itso God is not all-powerful; or else God would have prevented evil but didnt know it was going to

happen, and is therefore not all-knowing. So given evil, God is either not all-good, not all-powerful, not all-knowing, or does not exist. Concept of Self Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism. Jean Paul Sartre The very question of the nature of man is a meaningless one for the existentialist. In both of the sections above it was emphasized that man has no nature as such but rather that he must create his own essence. The uniqueness of man comes from his emotions, feelings, perception and thinking. The philosophy of existentialism stresses meaning, only through development of meaning in his life; man can make something of the absurdity which surrounds him. Man is the maker, and, therefore, the master of culture. It is man who imposes a meaning on his universe, although that universe may well function without him. Man cannot be taught what the world is about. He must create this for himself. Man is not alone in the world. He is connected to other men; he communicates with others; therefore, he cannot live in a state of anarchy. Life is seen as a gift, which, in part is a mystery. Man is free to choose commitments in life, in his choice, he becomes himself. He is the product of his choices. He is, therefore, an individual who is different from other persons. Second, individual man is not bound to other men by any predetermined notion of brotherhood or by allegiance to a certain group. On the contrary, each man should express his freedom in the creation of his own selfhood, first by withdrawing from the crowd, and then by communicating only with those whom he personally chooses . Sartre feels that the entire network of social life is anti-individual. Churches, schools, political parties, and even the family tend to militate against mans absolute freedom. Epistemological position The existentialist approach to knowledge is known as the phenomenological method. The atheistic existentialists inherited this method from Husserl. It was adapted further by Heidegger and Sartre to suit their philosophy of will and action, especially as it concerns the individual The phenomenological method consists in the expression of the experiences of consciousness through the media of ordinary language

Existentialists have given little attention to inductive reasoning. Science, they believe, has been one of the major dehumanizing forces in the modern world In opposition to this cold impersonal approach to knowledge, the existentialist argues that true knowledge is choosing, actions, living, and dying. Axiological position Existential ethics Kierkegaard reacted to this way of thinking by saying that it was up to the individual to find his or her own moral perfection and his or her own way there. I must find the truth that is the truth for me . . . the idea for which I can live or die he wrote. Authenticity & human freedom Existentialists have a special connotation of the Authentic man According to the existentialists, becoming authentic allows one to determine how things are to count towards ones situation and how one is to act in relation to them. Generally the existentialists consider authentic individuals to take responsibility for determining and choosing possibilities and not to simply become a determined product of a cultural moment. One can choose ones own identity and possibilities rather than have these dictated by the crowd. According to existential ethics the highest good for humans is becoming an individual or authenticity = psychological coherence + integrity = not merely being alive but having a real life by being true to yourself In authenticity & human unfreedom the failure to choose in this way, or the failure to take full responsibility for ones choices, is inauthenticity = psychic incoherence + lack of integrity. Accordingly, the worst thing of all is in authenticity & unfreedom, so it is morally impermissible. The very essence of good is choosing.It seems them, that man never chooses evil. A man becomes a man when he makes choice. When he makes choices he creates his own values. When he creates his own values, he creates his own being or essence. Aesthetics

Another distinctive feature of the aesthetical views of existentialists lies in their use of the art forms, especially literature, drama, and painting, as media for communicating philosophical doctrines. Fundamental Postulates of Existentialism Permanence and Change-The existentialists, deny the preeminence of essence. They reject the notion that there is a predetermined nature for every human being. Man is not born with a rational soul which forms the matter, the body. Man has no essence at birth; he must create his own essence. And with Darwin, the existentialist would concur that no living beings will remain the same all are in the process of changing. Consequently, existentialism is to be classified as one of the philosophies of change. Existence precedes essence -Existentialism is a revolt against any kind of determinism and an affirmation of the free nature of man. They affirm that existence is prior to essence that man is fundamentally free to create his essences. As Black ham writes, There is no creator of man. Man discovered himself. His existence came first; he now is in the process of determining his essence. Man first is, and then he defines himself. Freedom is identical with existence -Man, then, does not possess free will as a part of his essential mature, but rather he exists in a state of absolute freedom. None of the environmental or hereditary forces are considered strong enough to impair mans freedom. The most important characteristic to existentialist freedom, then, is that it is absolute. It does not consist, as some traditional philosophers hold, in the freedom to choose among alternative goods. Man has no guideposts by which to make his choice. He must simply make choices and this choice will determine his being. He is completely responsible for his own decisions and the effects they will have upon himself and others.
Reason-Existentialism asserts that people actually make decisions based on the meaning to them rather than rationally. Kierkegaard saw strong rationality as a mechanism humans use, their fear of being in the world: If I can believe that I am rational and everyone else is rational then I have nothing to fear and no reason to feel anxious about being

The Absurd-When an individuals consciousness, longing for order, collides with the Others lack of order, it is absurdity The notion of the Absurd contains the idea that there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond what meaning we give to it. This meaninglessness also encompasses the amorality or unfairness of the world.

Fact city-A denial of ones own concrete past constitutes an inauthentic lifestyle, and the same goes for all other kinds of fact city. In other words, the origin of ones projection will still have to be ones fact city, Alienation-Feelings of alienation can emerge from the recognition that ones world has received its meaning from the crowd or others, and not from oneself, or that one is out of touch with ones inner self. And our present personal and collective mental instability follows from the peculiar form of alienation associated with alienation from the centre alienation from meaning, value, purpose and vision, alienation from the roots of and reasons of our humanity.
Angst-Angst, sometimes called dread, anxiety or even anguish is a term that is common to many existentialist thinkers. It is generally held to be the experience of human freedom and responsibility It is this condition of absolute freedom in which man finds himself and the responsibility entailed by it that creates the condition in man called anguish. The realization of this responsibility causes existential anguish.

Abandonment-By abandonment, the existentialist means that since God does not exist, man is left to his own deserts in crating himself and the kind of world in which he will live. There are no apriority values according to which he can make his decisions; there are no transcendental codes of behavior; there is no moral law in nature to be discovered and followed by man. Men are abandoned to his own decision he must do what he wills; he must create his own essence.
Despair-Despair is another condition resulting from absolute freedom. Sartre describes this condition in these words. It [despair] merely means that we limit ourselves to a radiance upon that which is within our wills, or within the sum of the probabilities which render our action possible. Thus, when on makes a decision to act, he never can be sure what the result will be for him or others. Man must decide and act without hope.

Existential Crises- The phenomenon of anxiety as an important characteristic of the existential crisis is regarded as a rarity and has been described as the manifestation of freedom in the face of self Experiencing anxiety individuates, hence death as an issue readily lends itself to this crisis because only oneself can die ones own death. Existentialism in education The philosophy of existentialism has not displayed any particular interest in education. Therefore, it has been observed that the educational implications are derived and deduced from their philosophy rather than that are developed by existentialists

Just as its namesake sprang from a strong rejection of traditional philosophy, educational existentialism sprang from a strong rejection of the traditional, essentialist approach to education. Existentialism rejects the existence of any source of objective, authoritative truth about metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Instead, individuals are responsible for determining for themselves what is true or false, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. For the existentialist, there exists no universal form of human nature; each of us has the free will to develop as we see fit. Aims and Objectives of Education Existentialists have been quite consistent in their recommendation of educational aims which are in harmony with their philosophic views Existentialism is concerned principally with liberal education, freeing man from his isolation and his anonymity, freeing his mind from the confusions that prevent him from seeing his situations and his powers. Prior to starting this general objective for education, Harper had pointed up that the existentialist wants to educate the whole child, not just one side. This whole-child concept has been utilized by others, among them the instrumentalists. But the existentialist proposes a more individualistic notion, that is, the unfolding of the individual as a whole in the situation in which he finds himself. The existentialist emphasizes those situations such as tragedy, guilt, suffering, and, death which happen to the individual rather than the group. Nietzsche voices the same view against the general all genuine aims for education in which the individual is lost sight of as an individual. According to existentialist, education should make a man subjective and should make him conscious for his individuality or self. Being self conscious he will recognize his self and he will get an understanding of his being. Individuality lies on self -realization, a motivating force, from an existential perspective; a sense of self-identity is gained by how an individual relates to and values his or her relations. The purpose of education is to build character, to optimize potential and creativity and to enhance the quality of life through knowledge, and then from an existentialist perspective bureaucratization needs to be replaced by humanization. Education is that which helps an individual to realize the best that he is capable of. In doing so education must help the individual to realize the fact city (contingency) of his

existence to face the categories of this fact city dread, anguish, anxiety and fear resolutely and courageously and finally prepare him to meet death with pleasure. Education for happiness is a dangerous doctrine because there can be no happiness without pain and no ecstasy without suffering. Therefore, existentialists would welcome an education, which throws open to children human suffering, misery, anguish and the dreadful responsibilities of adult life. Every individual is unique. Education must develop in him this uniqueness. It must cater to individual differences Education must make pupil aware of the infinite possibilities of his freedom and the responsibilities he must bear in life. The most important aim in education is the becoming of a human person as one who lives and makes decisions about what he will do and be. Knowing in the sense of knowing oneself, social relationship, and biological development, is all the parts of becoming. Human existence and the value related to it is the primary factory in education. Education should train men to make better choices and also give the man the idea that since his choices are never perfect, the consequences cannot be predicted. The ultimate aim of education is to make man conscious of his destination, to give understanding of his being and ultimately lead him to his heavenly abode. So, it is clear that the existentialism accepts the principle of liberal education. In short, the objective of education is to enable every individual to develop his unique qualities, to harness his potentialities and cultivate his individualities. It means the implication of existentialist formulations for child rearing education and counseling practices are many. Since existentialists behold human life as unique and emerging a child is to be recognized as a full person and not simple as an in complete adult. The practices by which the child is socialized varied from culture to culture. Curriculum of Existentialism To the extent that the staff, rather than the students, influence the curriculum, the humanities are commonly given tremendous emphasis. They are explored as a means of providing students with vicarious experiences that will help unleash their own creativity

and self-expression. For example, rather than emphasizing historical events, existentialists focus upon the actions of historical individuals, each of whom provides possible models for the students own behavior. In contrast to the humanities, math and the natural sciences may be deemphasized, presumably because their subject matter would be considered cold, dry, objective, and therefore less fruitful to self awareness. Moreover, vocational education is regarded more as a means of teaching students about themselves and their potential than of earning a livelihood. In teaching art, existentialism encourages individual creativity and imagination more than copying and imitating established models. Although many existentialist educators provide some curricular structure, existentialism, more than other educational philosophies, affords students great latitude in their choice of subject matter. In an existentialist curriculum, students are given a wide variety of options from which to choose. Existence of individuals must constitute the core of studies both in and out of school. It is worth noting, however, they do not demand that history, science, mathematics, and the like be thrown out of the curriculum. Their criticism is leveled at the impersonal, cold, and dry as dust approach to subject matter found in the schools. It is safe to assume, then that both traditional and modern subject matter would be found in the existentialist schools. But subject matter would not be learned for its own sake. The views that one should teach subject matter for its own sake, or for training the pupils intellect, or for adjusting the student to his environment are foreign to existentialist thought. There is one feature of the existentialist curriculum which should differentiate it sharply from most existing elementary, secondary, and college programs. Most of these programs are devoid of content designed to offer the educed the opportunity to express his individuality in moral and artistic ways. The existentialist has made extensive use of the art forms as the media for conveying their beliefs about philosophical matters. It certainly would be in harmony with this emphasizing on values to provide the broadest possible curricular offerings in the value-laden area. Early in the elementary school, the child should be given the opportunity to express himself in any art from which he chooses. Also, the school program should afford myriads of opportunities, for the young pupil to make his own decisions in ethical matter. If this emphasis is continued

throughout the secondary and college programs, then the student will be truly educated to freedom. It seems, then, as suggested above, that the existentialist is not so much concerned with the actual courses or subjects in a curriculum as he is with what the teacher and) the pupil does with them. The exercise of existential freedom within a curriculum is more important than the curriculum. George Kneller takes each area of the curriculum, history, science, citizenship, music, art, dramatics, poetry, biography, and shows how the existential approach can be applied to each one. In each instance the student lives the subject or, better, becomes personally involved in the life of the material under consideration The central place is given to humanities, poetry, drama, music, art, novels etc. as they exert the human impact in revealing mans inherent quilt, sin, suffering, tragedy, death, late and love. Humanities have spiritual power. Art and Literature, they say should be taught, as they represent a priori (cause effect) power of human nature. Through these the students profit from the ideas and judgment of others. History should be taught in order to help the students to change the course of history and to mould future. Scientific subjects and mathematics should be included in the curriculum but they should not be given more stress, as they deal with objective knowledge. Self-knowledge precedes universal knowledge. In short, they dont believe in formal curriculum consisting of set of body of studies to be pursued but a curriculum, which features the riverberatory effect upon heart, and mind of passionate good reading and then personal contact. The curriculum should be chosen, sorted out and owned by the learner. Instructional Methodology Existentialist methods focus on the individual. Learning is self-paced, self directed, and includes a great deal of individual contact with the teacher, who relates to each student openly and honestly. In reality, the way in which subject matter is handled seems to be more important to the existentialist than the subject matter itself To recognize the individual differences and wish to have diverse curricula suiting the needs, abilities and aptitudes of the individual. Existentialist methods focus on the

individual. Learning is self-paced, self directed, and includes a great deal of individual contact with the teacher, who relates to each student openly and honestly. Perhaps the most significant assumption or underlying belief regarding educational methodology is that any teaching method must place the responsibility for choosing what to learn tend actually learning it upon the individual. This assumption is entirely in harmony with the existentialists insistence upon the absolute freedom of the individual. Obviously, on self-respecting existentialist would employ the traditional lecture-reciteassign-test method. He would reject with equal zeal the problem-solving method of instrumentalism because of its social emphasis. Any method which fosters group thinking or group action would be alien to the existentialist, Perhaps, then, the only criterion for method is that the teacher show by his example that education is a concentration on personal freedom one which encourages the student to accept the facts and beliefs which have relevance for him. Nietzsche states this position very vigorously in criticizing the traditional method (historic-scholastic method) of teaching the mother tongue: The historical method has become so universal in our time, that the living body of language is sacrificed for the sake of anatomical study . The historical method may certainly be a considerable easier and more comfortable one for the teacher. It also seems to be compatible with a much lower grade of ability and, general, with a smaller display of energy and will on his part. But we shall find that this observation holds well in every department of pedagogical life. . Similarly, a science should be considered a personal, human activity in which the student relives the great moment of discovery in the history of science. It should not be taught as an exercise in laboratory technique nor as a cold lifeless body of content to be mastered. The existential way to teach science is to have the students live it. This approach to teaching proposed by Kneller seems to be the same as that which Nietzsche implied in his criticism of traditional methods Existentialists favor the Socratic Approach to teaching, The existentialist favors the Socratic method, not so much because it involves induction or the collection and analysis of all available evidence, nor because of its complementary process of definition, whereby general values are reached from particular instances; but chiefly because it is a method that tests the inner-life-as a stethoscope sounds the heart. Socratic Problem Method should be accepted if the problem originates in the

life of the one who has to work out the solutions. But it is unacceptable if the problem is derived from the needs of the society. Like Socrates, personal reading should be stressed. They reject the group method, because in-group dynamic, the superiority of the group decision over individual decision is prominent. There is a danger of losing unique individualism and free choice. Methods of teaching must develop the creative abilities in children. The world and man reveal themselves by their undertakings Concept of Teacher The teachers role is to help students define their own essence by exposing them to various paths they may take in life and creating an environment in which they may freely choose their own preferred way. Since feeling is not divorced from reason in decision making, the existentialist demands the education of the whole person, not just the mind. There are five characteristics of this ideal that are formulated by this existential framework. These include becoming more authentic, more spiritual, having a critical attitude, having a clear sense of personal identity and a developing empathetic awareness towards others. Teachers are potentially able to offer a very valuable other horizon which is able to assess qualitatively the understandings of students. Teachers can be most influential in the educational development of students spirituality if, through their interaction, crises can be created. Teachers can be the learners best enemy), able to wound most provokingly. This is somewhat like playing the devils advocate in order to test and to clarify the understandings of others. In order to exercise ones freedom in an authentic manner it is also necessary that the teacher develop a critical attitude. Having a critical indicates that persons appreciate that they have a certain degree of unquestioned meanings that constitute how they make sense of, and give value and purpose to life. It is recognized that the teacher be necessarily a life-long learner The teachers characteristic of being open to possibilities includes a willingness to allow others to re-evaluate those aspects of ones understandings that can be articulated. If one chooses to close oneself off from the criticisms of others, one is no longer teacher.

Havingopenness in this regard allows one to come to an understanding of self and others. The teacher should become aware of how s/he relates to the entire curriculum. One is understood to be in truth by critically examining and reflecting upon all which one understands. Therefore, the traditionally accepted meanings attached to various issues should be touched with a hammer both to sound them out and to examine how the learner is attuned to them. Understanding, creating and choosing ones personal identity who one is and what one stands for is a desirable characteristic of a teacher. Personal identity may reference historical, sociological, religious and biological frameworks, An important characteristic of a teacher is that they have the ability to make judgments with regards to what is worthwhile and valuable in them and in others. This should be demonstrated by an empathetic awareness for others whom they are in-the-worldwith Existentialists do not wish the teacher to be social minded umpire or provider of free social activity or a model personality to be limited, by the students. He must himself be a free personality, engaged in such relations and projects with individual students that they get the idea that they are too are free personalities. He may indirectly influence them about his values but he should impose his cherished values on them, test his values become the code of conduct for the students, who may begin to accept them without thought. Instead of expecting them to imitate he should help them to be original and authentic. His effort should be that students mind should have autonomous functioning so that they become free, charitable and self-moving. The role of teacher is very important because he is the creator of such as educational situation in which the student can establish contact with his self by becoming conscious of his self and can achieve selfrealization. The teacher must build positive relationships between himself and his students. He should avoid applying labels to children (such as lazy, slow learner etc.) for individuals may indeed come to think of themselves this way. The teacher is also changing and growing as he guides the pupil in his discovery of self.

Concept of Student The question who should be educated? would appear to be a rather simple one for the existentialist. One might expect him to answer to anyone who so desires should be given all the education he wants. This response is probably correct as far as education in general is concerned, since the broad meaning of education includes more than schooling. In other words a person can educate himself in many ways such as by reading, by working, and perhaps, most important, by living by willing and acting. However, some existentialists have been quite clear in advocating a culture and education for the elite. Nietzsche was very outspoken in his scorn of equality of opportunity for all the children of all the people. The education of the masses cannot, therefore, be our aim; but rather the education of a few picked men for great and lasting works What is called the education of the masses cannot be accomplished except wit difficulty; and even if a system of universal compulsory education be applied, they can only be realized outwardly: those individuals of lower levels where, generally speaking, the masses come into contact with culture all these levels can scarcely be reached by direct means..In this context Nietzsche was not peaking only of college or university education but of the lower levels, elementary and secondary. He felt the public education, which attempted to educate the masses, was bound to fall short of the aim of true education simply because the masses were involved. The existentialists want to give full freedom to the child. But the child should know the nature of his self and recognize his being and convert imperfection into perfection. They do not want the child to become selfish, autocratic and irresponsible. Freedom is needed only for natural development. Education should be provided according to the childs powers and the needs. The relation of the child with his self should be strengthened rather than severed. The child has to make choices and decisions. Child thrives better when relieved from intense competition, harsh discipline, and fear of failure. Thus each child can grow to understand his own needs and values and take charge of the experiences for changing him. In this way self-evaluation is the beginning and end of the learning process, as learning proceeds, child is freely growing, fearless, understanding individual. Primary emphasis must always be on the child, as learner and not on the learning programmed. Child needs positive evaluation, not labels.

Concept of School From what has been said about the role individuality should play in the development an application of educational methodology it is quite evident that none of the traditional agencies of education (family, Church, and state) can claim the primary right to educate. it was quite clear that the individual, the personification of absolute freedom, is the sole agency responsible for creating his own essence or being. To be consistent, the existentialist cannot permit any agency outside the individual to usurp this primary right and responsibility The school should provide an atmosphere where the individuals develop in a healthy way. Any subject in school (even extra activities like athletics, music etc.) can present existential situations for teaching and the development of human beings. The aim of school tasks should be to nurture self-discipline and cultivate self-evaluation. Mass teaching and mass testing is not advocated in schools. The schedule must be flexible and open. Democratic ideals should pervade the school. Democracy must be the soil in which the individual grows. It should be the democracy of unique individuals who value differences and respect one another. Self-government, pupil participation in planning and the encouragement of a free atmosphere characterize the school. Mechanization and impersonality should be counteracted in school. Students timetables and work programmers are computerized. And thus the relationships between the individual students and the school programmed become an impersonal one. Besides this, the use of programmed instruction, teaching machines and other equipments tend to decrease the personal contact between teachers and pupils. This impersonality is a hazard to the individual development and growth of the childs personality. Concern and respect for the individual student should be a feature of the school. Nietzsches attack on public education is based upon his conviction that the public schools in his country destroyed individual freedom and responsibility and replaced them with a state-enforced conformity. Since mass education has been initiated by the state or in some instances by the Church, many existentialists feel that both of these organizations have overstepped their bounds. Nietzsche rightly comments But who will persuade me that todays (public) school have an absolute right to their existence? I am not convinced that in itself the school is necessarily a good thing. It is at best a

benevolent, well meaning concentration camp. It denies in its actual make up the very emancipation and enfranchisement of youth that it is established to cherish. Deny, if you can, the dreadful similarity between the mass education of children in a school and the mass production of goods in a factory. . Certainly, the atheistic existentialist has an additional reason for denying the rights of the Church in educational matters, since he considers the entire theologicaladministrative structure of the churches as a grand and fraudulent imposition on the individuals freedom of choice and action. Such misuse of education can only be resisted by the existentialist. The family, too, should not be considered the chief agency of education. The authoritarian structure of families has crushed the individuality of the young. Simply because the parents have provided the biological components of the child, they are not entitled to dictate what the child shall make of himself. Consequently, we are left with only one conclusion: the individual is the sole agency of education. The family, Church, and state should provide an atmosphere conducive to the individuals creation of his own essence. Their only role in the educative process in an auxiliary one a service role. These agencies should cooperate in freeing the individual from the artificial restraints of organized society so that he will be able to choose and act as he wishes. Evaluation of Existentialism The evaluation of existentialism has been quite negative. Some even view it as an ant philosophical movement. Others, however, do not take such a dismal view of it. James Collins believes that it is a challenging and instructive philosophy. It embodies a legitimate continuation of several important European traditions and addresses itself to vital problems of the greatest contemporary moment for both philosophy and life . Perhaps the somewhat morbid popular interest in the personality of Sartre may be advanced as an excuse for not giving careful hearing to the arguments of the existentialists Limitations After studying the philosophy of Existentialism, the question will arise in anybodys mind: how can the aims, curricula and methods in a school depend upon the

individuals choice and freedom? Organization of such a programmed would be impossible and bring about chaos. The teachers individual relationship and close understanding of every pupils personality would require a great deal of time and effort. The concepts of Being, meaning, Person are not very clear and appear nebulous. It is not easy to build up an educational programmed when the terminology for the objectives of the educational process is not clear Educational standards and practices that manipulate the childs behaviors in an arbitrary manner violate the principle of free choice. Many teaching practices, testing procedures, and bureaucratic system of classifying children may be questioned. Teachers who have learned to provide existential encounters for their students enable the learners, to create meanings in a cosmos devoid of objective meaning to find reasons for being in a society with fewer and fewer open doors. There are some major areas of conflict between atheistic existentialism and traditional. The formers complete denial of any forces outside the human situation and its rejection of any essential characteristic in man are contrary to traditional metaphysical beliefs. The radical subjectivity of existentialist epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics is also not in harmony with both traditional and many modern views of these issues. Other limitations of existentialism lessen the acceptability of this school of thought as a philosophy for modern man. The most glaring one seems to be the nave view the existentialists take of the social realities of the modern industrial, urban world. They offer no social theory for solving the complex problems of our scientific age Thus proposals for individual living might appeal to the hermit or the frontiersman but they are of little help to the people who must spend their lives in large cities, work for large companies, worship in large congregations, and even recreate in crowds.. Man is responsible, not only for himself but for his fellowmen.

Yet another weakness might be noted in existentialist philosophy which limits its application to the modern world, namely, the neglect of the scientific mode of knowing in their general theory of knowledge. After all, this is the age of science and complete philosophy of life cannot relegate the philosophy of science to a position of minor importance. As an educational philosophy, existentialism, at least in its present form, does not provide an adequate basis for educational theory. Perhaps this state of affairs is due to the fact that most existentialists have given no serious consideration to the development of the educational implications of their fundamental philosophical tenets. There is no place in existentialist philosophy for social theory as developed within the other philosophies The existentialist often is accused of being antisocial in his behavior as well as in his philosophy. If existentialists have no theory of society, it might be more accurate to ask how they view other men. First, they would grant to others the same existential freedom which they demand for themselves. That is, man is never to be viewed as a means but rather as an end. The school itself has become a place where the individual is socialized so that he can be a good group member, a good citizen rather than a good person. If existentialism does nothing else but bring about a proper balance between the individual and society, it will have merited the praise of educators. The existential view of development is not without its critics, many of whom view of theory and its practices as representing a neurotic, narcissistic philosophy of pain and anguish. Merits In contrast, existentialisms protagonists see it as the only hope for human survival as in existentialism. Since existentialism is optimistic, the preaches the doctrine of action and emphasizes the concept of freedom, responsibility and choice, it has exerted an increasing appeal to the educator, who has been shown the new horizons Interest is directed on the man his genuine or authentic self, his choices made with full responsibility of consequences, and freedom. It describes and diagnoses human weaknesses, limitations and conflicts

Man cannot be explained by reason as the idealists emphasize. It traces the origin of all these and anticipates that man will overcome them. These arise; they say when a man comes to have a sense of meaninglessness of his life. They do not want man to be philistine (one whose interests are material and common place) or mediocre who submerges himself. They want the transcendence of man, which means that he should become more and more authentic. In short, Existentialism is an attitude and outlook that emphasizes human existence, the qualities of individual persons rather than man in abstract of nature and the world in general. Education, therefore, must edify and enrich mans mind so that it may be respectable in his own eyes and in the eyes of the, others. It should help him to make him human.
EXISTENTIALISM IN EDUCATION. INTRODUCTION : A keen study of quite an amount of existentialist philosophy would reveal that to write about existentialism is neither easy nor simple but a challenging and complex one. If doubts and confusions are left uncleared, one can only say that contradictions and inconsistencies are fundamental to their thought.1 Some illustrations of such paradoxes are - Heideggers statement -: analyse death to understand life, Jaspers : Renounce your world and you will return to it, Santre : You are a free man if you deny God, Kierkegaard : You are a free man if you accept God, etc. When once a critique drew the attention of Sartre by his remark. Your philosophy is problematic and ambiguous, Sartres reply was Man does seem to me to be ambiguous.2 Not only their thought, even their language is obscure. Here is an example of existentialist dialectical confusion : Nothing is revealed in dread, but not as something that is. Neighter can it be taken as an object. Dread is not an apprehension of Nothing. We would say rather : in dread Nothing functions as if at one with WHAT-IS-IN-TOTALITY?3 Another very significant source of confusion arises out of the different personal lives and convictions of existential philosophers. Kierkegaard, Marcel and Jaspers are theists whereas Sartre and Heideggar are agnostics. Jaspers is a protestant whereas Marcel is a staunch Roman Catholic. Less said the better about the diversities of other existentialist philosophers like Berdyaev, Buber, Tillich and Neibhur.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW -: Just as the whole of Indian philosophy is either an extension, interpretation, criticism and corroboration of the Vedas and in it the Upanishads or an outright revolt against them, similarly it may be remarked of western philosophy as either a clarification of Socrates or his rejection. One would be still right in saying that the whole of western philosophy is an appendix on Socrates. So it is even true with existentialism that Socrates has been considered to be the first existentialist. Socrates statement : I am and always have been a man to obey nothing in my nature except the resoning which upon reflection, appears to me to be the best. Right from Plato down to (Spinoza, Leibnitz) Descartes, the majority of western thinkers have been believing in the immutability of ideas and the rest of the thinkers have been suggesting correctives to it. Anyhow their frame of reference has always been Essence Precedes Existence, essense being referred to ideas, values, ideals, thoughts, etc. and existence being referred to our lives. The last in the series was Hegal who carried farthest this effort to understand the world rationally. But by the middle of the 19th Century there sprang up a Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) who not only rejected the platonic view but reversed the order itself. Kierkegaard who mayconsidered to be the founder of the philosophy of existence contradicted Hegal and asserted that Existence Precedes Essence.6 It is against any kind of rationalisations, universalities and generalities in philosophy. There is the extreme subjectivism in it. His major work Either/or/to be or not to be. Atleast for the western world, the first half of the twentieth century has been an age marked by anxieties, conflicts, sufferings, tragic episodes, dread, horrow, anguish, persecusion and human sacrifices caused by the two intermittent world wars. As Harper writes : Tragedy, death, guilt, suffering all force one to appraise ones total situation, much more than do happiness, joy, success, innocence, since it is in the former that momentous choices must be made.7 So, there sprang up a group of philosophers spread all over Germany, France and Italy which were the places of social crisis. Significant among these philosophers were Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegaar from Germany. France contributed two other existentialists -: Gabriel Marcel and Jean Paul Sartre. There are quite a few gentlemen who are associated remotely with the philosophy of existentialism like Schelling, Nietsche, Pascal, Hussrell who have influenced existential thought but cannot be rigidly classified as existentialists.8Existentialism thus has a short history of nearly two centuries. MEANING OF EXISTENTIALISM -: There are numerous ways to analyse the currents of existential thinking. As a system of philosophy or a school of thought, existentialism is a revole against traditional metaphysics. As a theory of human development, it is an approach to highlight the existence of being the process of becoming.

Since a person, in the becoming state, always exists in a constantly dynamic phase, his life may be regarded as a journey on which he finds ever newer experiences and gains greater insights. Existentialism represents a protest against the rationalism of traditional philosophy, against misleading notions of the bourgeois culture, and the dehumanising values of industrial civilization. Since alienation, loneliness and self-strangement constitute threats to human personality in the modern world, existential thought has viewed as its cardinal concerns a quest for subjective truth, a reaction against the negation of Being and a perennial search for freedom. From the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, to the Twentieth Century. French philosopher, Jean Paul, Sartre, thinkers have dealt with this tragic sense of ontological reality - the human situation within a comic context. ETYMOLOGICAL MEANING -: Etymological meaning of existence from two German words -: ex-sistent meaning that which stands out, that which emerges suggests that existentialism is a philosophy that emerges out of problems of life. EXISTENTIALISM DEFINED -: Various definitions of existentialism have been proposed by different authors. Blackham (1952) has described existenalism as a philosophy of being a philosophy of attestation and acceptance, and a refusal of the attempt to rationalize and to think Being. The peculiarity of existentialism, according to Blackham is that, it deals with the separation of man from himself and from the world, which raises the question of philosophy not by attempting to establish some universal form of justification which will enable man to readjust himself but by permanently enlarging and lining the separation itself as primordial and constitutive for personal existence.12 Harries and Leveys (1975) defined existentialism as any of several philosophic systems, all centred on the individual and his relationship the universe or to God. 13 Tiryakian (1962) defines it as an attempt to reaffirm the importance of the individual by rigorous and in many respects radically new analysis of the nature of man.14 In the opinion presented here, existentialism is a humanistic perspective on the individual situation, a philosophy of existence, of being, of authenticity and of universal freedom. It is a quest, beyond despaire, for creative identity. It is the philosophy that is a counsellor in crisis, a crisis in the individuals life, which calls upon him to make a choice regarding his subsequent existence.15

In brief, Existence does not mean living alive alone, it means to maintain perfect, powerful, selfconscious, responsible and intelligent life. Man should get opportunity for subjective consciousness. Truth is realised only in inner life. As modern mechanical and industrial life has taken away individual freedom from man,Existentialism lays emphasis on Freedom and Individual Responsibility. It has an Eye-view on human weakness and insecurity as man is leading a lonely life, being surrounded by anxieties, frustrations, fear, feeling of guilt etc. His individuality is being crushed. BASIC TENETS AND FUNDAMENTAL POSTULATES -: 1) The centre of existence is man rather than truth, laws, principles or essence.

Man is characterized by decisions, will and choice. Although existentialists emphasize mans place in the world, or mans relationship to Being, or even mans relationship to God, they still indicate that there is a certain uniqueness and mystery about the human person. The phenomenon of man is life as it is lived, and the mystery is an awareness of mans deep and complex meaning, science and rational thinking cannot grasp or explain it. 2) This notion of the uniqueness and mystery man implies that previous definitions of man have been completely unsatisfactory. The uniqueness of man comes from his emotions, feelings, perception and thinking. The philosophy of existentialism stresses meaning, only through development of meaning in his life, man can make something of the absurdity which surrounds him. Man is the maker, and, therefore, the master of culture. It is man who imposes a meaning on his universe, although that universe may well function without him. Man cannot be taught what the world is about. He must create this for himself. 3) Man is not alone in the world.

He is connected to other men; he communicates with others; therefore, he cannot live in a state of anarchy. Life is seen as a gift, which, in part is a mystery. Man is free to choose commitments in life, in his choice, he becomes himself. He is the product of his choices. He is, therefore, an individual who is different from other persons. The real living person is more important than any statement we can make about him. Mans existence is more important than his essence. 4) Existentialism propounds the belief that man cannot accept the ready-made concepts of existence forced upon him. He is a free agent capable of shaping of shaping his own life and choosing his own destiny. Thus we cannot treat people as machines, first pulling one lever, than another, and expect predictable results. Therefore, we cannot say that the stimulus response or conditioning is a sufficient description of mans behaviour. Man can transcend both himself and his culture.

5) A synthesis of immanency and transcendency, guided by a primordial sense of ontological wonder and subjective knowledge constitutes existence. 6) People are able to appreciate human fortitude only through extreme situations, sorrow, disappointment and death enable humans to achieve authentic life. In short the main tenets of existentialism involve a kind of subjective and direct approach upholding the emergence of the person in a rather impersonal environment. SOME CONCEPTS USED IN EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) Existence precedes essence

It was Plato who said that the surrounding world is a world of essences - ideas, values, ideals, thought etc. and the purpose of life is to discover these essences. Essences are already there and they precede existence. Even existence is an embodiment of an essence - the self, which is a part of an universal essence - the self. The majority of other Western philosopher carried forward this theory. Descartes even affirmed the reality of existence because of its essence - thinking as he said, I think, therefore, I am. Bergson even went to the extreme of saying that I do not think it (essence) thinks in me,16 thereby striking a transcendental, desperately deterministic note on human existence. Similarly naturalist philosophers rejected this type of a transcendental determinism but replaced it by a naturalistic determinism by identifying essences in nature as preceding existence. On the other hand pragmatists spoke of social determinism. As such, exstentialism is a revolt against any kind of determinism and an affirmation of the free nature of man. They affirm that existence is prior to essence that man is fundamentally free to create his essences. As Blackham writes, There is no creater of man. Man discovered himself. His existence came first, he now is in the process of determining his essence. Man first is, then he defines himself.17 As Sartre himself explains his concept to us, what is meant here by saying that, existence precedes essence? It means that, first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and only afterwards defines himself. It mean, as the existentialist sees him is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterwards will be something and he himself will have made what he will be18 Therefore, it can be easily observed that when idealists believe in transcendental values, Naturalists believe that values are resident in nature, pragmatists believe that values arise out of social life, existentialists affirm that the individual alone creates values. Reality is a state of becoming. Existence increases with every moment of life and essence is a consequence of this perpetual becoming.


Contingency of human life is the giveness or throw ness of human life.

Existentialists believe that existence of a person means his period from birth to death. There was nothing before birth and would be nothing beyond death. In between we have been thrown into a social life and the characteristics of this social life are the contingent circumstances of our life. This contingency is often characterised by experiences of dread, horror, anguish, solitude, bewilderment, uncertainty and finally limited by death.19 As Jean Wahl puts it : Man is in this world, a world limited by death and experienced in anguish; is aware of himself as essentially anxious; is burdened by his solitude within the horizen of his temporality.20 Therefore, we are all aware of our situation in life, limited by death and existentialists rightly remark that man is the only being in the world who knows that some time he will die. That is why his existence is throughout permeated by dread, anxiety and fear. He cannot escape or transcend this situations. He must learn to live with anguish, dread and anxiety. He must learn to love death (Justices Socrates, Lincoln, Kennedy, Gandhi and a score of other great men for whom dying for a meaningful cause was of greater significance than living a purposeless life.) INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND EXISTENTIAL CONCEPT -: There are a number of correlates in Indian philosophy for existential concepts for e.g., anguish, Dukha, dread and horror; Bhagya, Bhiti etc. But when existentialism advises us to live with these categories of contingency, Indian philosophy counsels us to transcend them. This is very clearly evident in the concepts of a sthithaprajna21 in the Gita. One sloke runs like this :? ?: ? ? ? : ? : 22 (He who is not depressed by anguish, elated by joy and at times of fear, anxiety love, horror and anger maintains his equanimity and poise as a sage). 23 Even the India attitude towards death is similar to that of existentialism. As an illustration, to quota Gita -: (For a man enjoying popular esteem infancy is worse than death) Gandhi once had said that death in freedom is sweeter than life in bondage.25 3) Freedom is identical with existence -:

According to Sartre freedom is identical with existence. As such existentialism has even been described as a search for ways in which mans freedom to create may be widely established and understood. In Marjorie Grenes terms -: The revolutionary philosophy turns out to be philosophy of freedom - not just the philosophy of those who seek freedom but the philosophy of the very free act itself.27 According to existentialists, man is not only free but he is condemned to be free. He is only not free, not to be free. This is the tragedy of human life. This infinite freedom entails upon him a heavy sense of responsibility and this situation of being burdened with a heavy responsibility is the cause of dread, anguish and anxiety. The peculiar quality of human reality is that it is without excuse.28 A bold, honest, responsible and authentic existence would help man to face this situation. 4) Being

According to existentialist, education should make a man subjective and should make him conscious for his individuality or self. Being self conscious he will recognise his self and he will get an understanding of his being. 5) Authentic man

Existentialists have a special connotation of the Authentic man, they say is one who has permeation of his values and choices by clear awareness of his situation, especially regarding the fact of death. If a man considers death imminent he leads authentic existence. 6) Individuality

Individuality lies on self-realisation, a motivating force, which makes the inner life of man centre of concentration free from anxiety. There is a basic desire and inclination for the existence of individuality in man. It should be recognised. If this existential individuality is recognised, his life becomes purposeful and important. At the same time he becames conscious for his self. 7) Subjectivity (self consciousness)

It means nature of knower. But Chaube, S.P. and Akhilesh (1981, p.225) writes -: Kierkegeard says, Because I exist, because I think, therefore, I think that I exist. According to the statement I think it is clear that I exists and it has existence. I that exists is always subjective and not objective. Objectivity always proves an impossible notion. It gives only ideas but these ideas can be realised only by becoming introvert and subjective. If we use we in place of I the existence of I is lost and objectivity replaces subjectivity. Existential subjectivity means only self-existence. Objective knowledge is realised mentally only when a person ponders over it subjectively. But objective knowledge is without object, because as soon as the self-realises it, it becomes devoid of object and by becoming centre of self-consciousness, becomes comprehensive and subjective. Now the person

because of knowing the object does not desire to know the object, but he emerges himself in knowing the self. (Note -: The concept meaning and existence is already discussed) FUNDAMENTALS -: 1) 2) For the existentialist Reality I s Being or existence of an individual. Existentialism wants man to be without metaphysics.

3) They wish to restore the status of man which he has lost in this advanced technological and mechanised society. 4) Man is not man but humanity. It implies that each mans actions, while subjectively inspired influence by other people. 5) 6) 7) The existentialists aver that the persons mind is the source and substance of all knowledge. The realisation of existence proceeds from the inwardness of man. That knowledge is valid which is of value to the individual.

8) They do not believe in absolute values. They argue that as long as the empirical spirit remains alive, it must remain open to revision and correction and hence it cannot adhere to fixed values. 9) 10) Values should be generated by our free decisions. Freedom is the source of ultimate values.

11) The emphasis on personal existence and subjectivity in existentialism has led to an emphasis on mans freedom, Choice and Action. 12) Freedom is the raw material of his being. Man owes his being to freedom, which is the basis of all human activity. To be free is to be free to change to do, to act, to inflict oneself on the world, to change the world.29 13) The idea of death should be accepted gracefully.

14) Existence precedes essence. It means a person lives before he dies. Until a person dies he can always change his essence by doing good things and then he will die a noble death. 15) Even if God exists, that would make no difference for a man who needs to know that nothing can save him from himself, not even the valid proof of the existence of God. 16) Human development is seen as independent of external forces, guided by the creative forces of the integral self. It is the development that is a self-directed synthesis of self-destined energy, potential, aspirations and needs. 17) The individual has freedom of choice, which implies a capacity to change. It is a freedom that helps with the self-emerging process. 18) Identify and security attained at the cost of freedom constitude bad faith. Likewise, to question the dynamic of the personality is an act of bad faith. 19) Development consists of a uniquely subjective style by which the individual relates to others and to the processes of being and becoming. 20) The individuality of man is supreme. This individuality is greater and more important than the existence of man, nation and the world. It is very much near to the individual life of man.30 21) The existence of self is related with the existence of the other.

V.R. Taneja Writes -: Existentialists do not believe in absolute values. Indirectly, however, they concede absolute values like awareness of death, fidelity, sincerity, integrity etc. Existentialism is an ethic of integrity in which running away from oneself is evil, facing oneself is good. It is the integrity of character and action rather than of vision alone that is to be prized. Treat every man as an end and never as means. Everyone must choose without reference to pre-established values. Everyone has to invent a law for oneself. Man makes himself. He is not found readymade. He makes himself by the choice of his morality. He cannot choose anything else except his morality. Such is the pressure of circumstances upon him. The heart and centre of existentialism is the absolute character of free commitment through which he realise himself.31
Ads by Google

EDUCAIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF EXISTENTIALISM -: The philosophy of existentialism has not displayed any particular interest in eduction.32 Therefore, it has been observed that the educational implications are derived and deduced from their philosophy rather than that are developed by existentialists. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF EDUCTION AND EXISTENTIALISM 1) Education is that which helps an individual to realise the best that he is capable of. In doing so eduction must help the individual to realise the facticity (contingency) of his existence to face the categories of this facticity - dread, anguish, anxiety and fear - resolutely and courageously and finally prepare him to meet death with pleasure.33 2) Education for happiness is a dangerous doctrine because there can be no happiness without pain and no ecstasy without suffering.34 Therefore, existentialists would welcome an education, which throws open to children human suffering, misery, anguish and the dreadful responsibilities of adult life. 3) Students must develop a consistent scale of values, authenticate their existence by being committed to these values and so act as to be prepared to die for these values than to live without them. Dyning for ones own country constituted the supreme sacrifice. 4) Every individual is unique. Education must develop in him this uniqueness. It must cater to individual differences. 5) Education must make pupil aware of the infinite possibilities of his freedom and the responsibilities he must bear in life.

6) The most important aim in education is the becoming of a human person as one who lives and makes decisions about what he will do and be. Knowing in the sense of knowing oneself, social relationship, and biological development, are all the parts of becoming. Human existence and the value related to it is the primary factory in eduction. 7) Education for complete development of personality. 8) More importance to subjective knowledge than objective knowledge. 9) Education for perfection of man in his environment. 10) Education should create consciousness for self.

11) Eduction should train men to make better choices and also give the man the idea that since his choices are never perfect, the consequences cannot be predicted. 12) The ultimate aim of education is to make man conscious of his destination, to give understanding of his being and ultimately lead him to his heavenly abode. So, it is clear that the existentialism accepts the principle of liberal education.35 In short, the objective of education is to enable every individual to develop his unique qualities, to harness his potentialities and cultivate his individualities. It means the implication of existentialist formulations for child rearing education and counselling practises are many. Since existentialists behold human life as unique and emerging a child is to be recognised as a full person and not simple as an in complete adult. The practices by which the child is socialized varied from culture to culture. CURRICULUM OF EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) Since the existentialists believe in the individuals freedom, they do not advocate any rigid curriculum. 2) They recognise the individual differences and wish to have diverse curricula suiting the needs, abilities and aptitudes of the individual. 3) Curriculum, they say should not primarily satisfy the immediate needs but also ultimate needs. 4) The central place is given to humanities, poetry, drama, music, art, novels etc. as they exert the human impact in revealing mans inherent quilt, sin, suffering, tragedy, death, late and love. Humanities have spiritual power. Art and Literature, they say should be taught, as they represent a

priori (cause effect) power of human nature. Through these the students profit from the ideas and judgement of others. 5) Second place is given to social sciences as they lead the man to feel that he is nothing more than an object. They however, wish to teach social sciences for inculcating moral obligation and for knowing the relationship of the individual to a group.36 6) History should be taught in order to help the students to change the course of history and to mould future. 7) The specialization in any field must be complemented by liberalising studies for it is the man who counts and not the profession. 8) The study of the worlds religion should be taught so as to develop religious attitude freely within the students. The ideal school permits religious unfolding in according with whatever doctrine the student wishes to accept or to reject. Religion keeps him aware of death. 9) Realisation of self-forme part of the curriculum. Self-examination and social obedience is the first lesson. The child must be saved from his own unexamined self and from those who interfere with the free exercise of his moral decision. 10) Scientific subjects and mathematics should be included in the curriculum but they

should not be given more stress, as they deal with objective knowledge. Self-knowledge precedes universal knowledge.37 In short, they dont believe in formal curriculum consisting of set of body of studies to be pursued but a curriculum, which features the reverberatory effect upon heart, and mind of passionate good reading and then personal contact. The curriculum should be chosen, sorted out and owned by the learner. INSTUCTIONAL TECHNIQUE AND EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) Existentialists favour the Socratic Approach to teaching, as Socratic Method is personal, intimate and an I-thou affair. As Kneller put it, The existentialist favours the Socratic method, not so much because it involves induction or the collection and analysis of all available evidence, nor because of its complementary process of definition, whereby general values are reached from particular instances; but chiefly because it is a method that tests the inner-life-as a stesthoscope sounds the heart.38

2) Socratic Problem Method should be accepted if the problem originates in the life of the one who has to work out the solutions. But it is unacceptable if the problem is derived from the needs of the society. 3) Like Socrates, personal reading should be stressed. 4) They reject the group method, because in-group dynamic, the superiority of the group decision over individual decision is prominent. There is a danger of losing unique individualism and free choice. 5) Methods of teaching must develop the creative abilities in children. The world and man reveal themselves by their undertakings. COUNSELLING AND EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) It is from the psychological interpretations of existential thought that counselling thinkers get much of their intellectual grounding. 2) Counselling have become an integral part of education and are playing an important role in helping young people to meet the challenge and to develop a positive view of self. 3) It insists that the aim of counselling in education is to promote maximum self-development by enhancing the individuals powers to choose for, and direct himself. THE COUNSELLORS ROLE -: 1) The counsellors efforts are directed through towards helping each of the counsellors to formulate a set of unique beliefs and a way of practising them. He does not emphasize and right values. 2) All learning aims are formulating the aspirations and desires of the unique individuals, so that he can understand himself and through this build up personal regard for others. 3) Counselling theory takes a dynamic view of personality. Each human being started with what he has by heredity and should continue to change and grow through experiences during his lifetime. THE TEACHER AND EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) Existentialists do not wish the teacher to be social minded umpire or provider of free social activity (as the pragmatists want) or a model personality (as the Idealists say) to be limited, by

the students. He must himself be a free personality, engaged in such relations and projects with individual students that they get the idea that they are too are free personalities. 2) He may indirectly influence them about his values but he should impose his cherished values on them, test his values become the code of conduct for the students, who may begin to accept them without thought. Instead of expecting them to imitate he should help them to be original and authentic. 3) His effort should be that students mind should have autonomous functioning so that they become free, charitable and self-moving. 4) The role of teacher is very important because he is the creator of such as educational situation in which the student can establish contact with his self by becoming conscious of his self and can achieve self-realization. 5) It is the teacher who impresses up on the students to work hard and make the best of life and accept death as something inevitable but tell them that death can be gloomy as well as glorious. It is he who inculcates in the students the idea that a life lived lazily, selfishly or improperly is a life not worthy living. Dying for ones country is glorious. So, the role of the teacher is very important. 6) The teacher must build positive relationships between himself and his students.

7) Teachers should avoid applying labels to children (such as lazy, slow learner etc.) for individuals may indeed come to think of themselves this way. 8) self. The teacher is also changing and growing as he guides the pupil in his discovery of

THE CHILD AND THE EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) The existentialists want to give full freedom to the child. But the child should know the nature of his self and recognise his being and convert imperfection into perfection. 2) They do not want the child to become selfish, autocratic and irresponsible. Freedom is needed only for natural development. 3) Education should be provided according to the childs powers and the needs. The relation of the child with his self should be strengthened rather than severed. 4) The child has to make choices and decisions.

5) Child thrives better when relieved from intense competition, harsh discipline, and fear of failure. Thus each child can grow to understand his own needs and values and take charge of the experiences for changing him. In this way self-evaluation is the beginning and end of the learning process, as learning proceeds, child is freely growing, fearless, understanding individual. 6) Primary emphasis must always be on the child, as learner and not on the learning programme. 7) Child needs positive evaluation, not labels.

SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND THE EXISTENTIALISM -: 1) way. The school should provide an atmosphere where the individuals develop in a healthy

2) Any subjectin school (even extra activities like athletics, music etc.) can present existential situations for teaching and the development of human beings. 3) 4) 5) The aim of school tasks should be to nurture self-discipline and cultivate self-evaluation. Mass teaching and mass testing are not advocated in schools. The schedule must be flexible and open.

6) Democratic ideals should pervade the school. Democracy must be the soil in which the individual grows. It should be the democracy of unique individuals who value differences and respect one another. Self-government, pupil participation in planning and the encouragement of a free atmosphere characterize the school. 7) Mechanization and impersonality should be counteracted in school. Students timetables and work programmes are computerized. And thus the relationships between the individual students and the school programme becomes an impersonal one. Besides this, the use of programmed instruction, teaching machines and other equipments tend to decrease the personal contact between teachers and pupils. This impersonality is a hazard to the individual development and growth of the childs personality. Concern and respect for the individual student should be a feature of the school. VALUE JUDGEMENT AND LIMITATION -: 1) After studying the philosophy of Existentialism, the question will arise in anybodys mind : how can the aims, curricula and methods in a school depend upon the individuals choice and freedom? Organization of such a programme would be impossible and bring about chaos.

2) The teachers individual relationship and close understanding of every pupils personality would require a great deal of time and effort. 3) The concepts of Being, meaning, Person are not very clear and appear nebulous. It is not easy to build up an educational programme when the terminology for the objectives of the educational process are not clear. 4) Where there is child-rearing education and counselling practices are many the practices by which the child is socialized varies from one culture to another. If the emphasis in the culture is on mundane security and the value of world essence, then the individual may experience neurotic growth through the conflict between these unsuitable values and the persons inner forces of creativity that continue to aspire for unique emergence and subjective expression. The extent to which a child is accepted or rejected, succeeds or fails, and develops satisfactorily of is retarded depends on the experiences and processes which explain the meaning of things (persons, objects, situations) in relation to the childs being. 5) Educational standards and practices that manipulate the childs behaviours in an arbitrary manner violate the principle of free choice. 6) Many teaching practices, testing procedures, and bureaucratic system of classifying children may be questioned. 7) Over structured public and parochical school systems enslave rather than liberate young souls. Such institutions serve a political rather than a truly educational purpose, promoting the manufacture of efficient robot rather than inspired, enlightened, and creative individuals. As a result various contemporary educational theories are radicalising the institutionalised structures of learning. 8) Teachers who have learned to provide existential encounters for their students enable the learners, to create meanings in a cosmos devoid of objective meaning to find reasons for being in a society with fewer and fewer open doors. 9) If the purpose of education is to build character, to optimise potential and creativity and to enhance the quality of life through knowledge, then from an existentialist perspective bureaucratisation needs to be replaced by humanization. That the existential goal is not being achieved today is illustrated by such evidence as that product in a study of students values indication that American students predominantly seek to learn survival skills rather than to develop a social conscience, a situation contrary to an existentialist view of satisfactory development. This crisis in education is not confined to the west but is observed in Eastern Cultures as well.

10) In the realm of counselling existential intervention is conceptualised as a conscioms attitudinal perspective toward rebuilding the impaired self. The existential influences on counselling practices, though not fully acknowledged nor duly assessed, have been far-reaching. Some form of existential intervention is employed by such a range of practioners as those using gestalt therapy, antipsychiatry, rational-emotive psychotherapy, psychodrama, transactional analysis communication and cognitive approaches, encounter groups, and reality therapy. CONCLUSION -: The existential view of development is not without its critics, many of whom view of theory and its practices as representing a neurotic, narcissistic philosophy of pain and anguish. In contrast, existentialisms protagonists see it as the only hope for human survival as in existentialism. 1) interest is directed on the man - his genuine or authentic self, his choices made with full responsibility of consequences, and freedom. 2) 3) It describes and diagnoses human weaknesses, limitations and conflicts. It traces the origin of all these and anticipates that man will overcome them. These arise,

they say when a man comes to have a sense of meaninglessness of his life. 4) They do not want man to be philistine (one whose interests are material and common place) or mediocre who submerges himself. 5) They want the transcendence of man, which means that he should become more and more authentic. 6) Man cannot be explained by reason as the idealists emphasise.

7) Since existentialism is optimistic, the preaches the doctrine of action and emphasises the concept of freedom, responsibility and choice, it has exerted an increasing appeal to the educator, who has been shown the new horizons. In short, Existentialism is an attitude and outlook that emphasises human existence, the qualities of individual persons rather than man in abstract of nature and the world in general. Education, therefore, must edify and enrich mans mind so that it may be respectable in his own eyes and in the eyes of the, others. It should help him to make him human.

What is Social Reconstructionism. (the Philosophies in Education)?

Social reconstructionism in education is a philosophy that emphasizes the need to address social questions. It says that social reform should be the aim of education. It states that humans must be learn to resist oppression.


Mary NaikumiComments off

Reconstructionism as a philosophy in education stands for change. It draws its strength in the fact that society is not static. In most societies it is common knowledge that schools and the education sector are pioneers to change and development. The question therefore is: What is the purpose of schools to the reconstructionist theory?


Education is to bring out positive change in society. Examples of the positive change include: Reduction in poverty levels Advancement in Technology Improved levels of living of which examples include: Better methods of farming, improved attitudes to access medical care, Practice of environmental management better ways of

What does this mean to a Curriculum developer?

1. The Curriculum made should consider the current and future needs of a society. 2. The other important implication to the Curriculum expert is to design course structure that gives learners freedom to try out own ideas and also improve on the existing knowledge.

3 Design a course structure that enables learners to discover knowledge on their own, such that teachers will not spoon feed the learners. 4. The teaching of innovations in terms of thinking and practical skills becomes crucial at every stage in the education process. Creativity must be credited in order to encourage innovations and inventions.

What is the role of the teacher in this philosophy?

1. Facilitate learning activities 2. Stimulate learning Facilitating learning means that the teacher avails opportunities to learners to experience and work with subject matter in question. How do we stimulate and facilitate learning? By asking questions Probing learners Compelling people to think Motivating learners to suggest what they think about topical issues Extra

PROGRESSIVISM/PRAGMATISM It is associated with the following philosophers: John Dewey, Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Froebel. It zeros down on the learners. Rousseau an English philosopher is viewed as the discoverer of the child

What does this mean to us?

Rousseau thought that education of a child should be based upon the nature, needs, abilities, interests and perspective of life. The pragmatists view of the Curriculum is that it should be based on the attributes of learners. Emphasis is put on the current and future experiences of learners.

Learners other than the subject determine the quantity and quality of the teaching and learning experiences. The learners ability should determine the pace to complete the syllabus. They further suggest that activities and content should arise from the active interest of the learners. To discover the child. What does this mean? It means that Schools and teachers should help learners to find out their abilities or potential in the fields of study that are available. The School system and the Teachers should motivate learners to have interest in the tasks at hand /school activities. Teachers should encourage learners to undertake research at various levels for academic progress. Teachers should use language and examples that promote a friendly environment for academic empowerment within the Classroom and after school.

Teachers should give opportunities for development of new ideas with the scope of knowledge. The School system should monitor and evaluate progress of knowledge acquisition quite often. The School system should encourage all learners to participate in the activities within the class and those that go on outside formal classes. The school system should develop interest in efforts of learners for academic boost. The School system should avail opportunities for sharing knowledge and self expression to learners.

This philosophy favors the subject than the learner. It assumes a fixed Curriculum for every body. The assumption that all learners are the same is paramount. To the perenialists knowledge is a discipline of the mind.

The role of the teacher is therefore to empower learners with intellectual abilities.

This requires the teacher to be well trained in the management of content, classroom management and discipline of Students. The Philosophy puts much emphasis on the ability to work with the brain. For example if a learner can recall what was taught in class, reproduce the principles by stating them and perform mental related skills.That then is a good student. The school of thought is exam oriented and fails to dig deep into other competencies that are long term. For example if a learner has acquired basic facts he or she may not need to conceptualize the subject content to pass the exam set in mathematics. Wholesome education entails:

Facts, basic ideas, Concepts and Principals that govern the subject.
Aims, Methods, and Curriculum Content of Reconstructionist Education
Jason A. Baguia M. Philo Philosophy of Education NT University of San Carlos College of Arts & Sciences Graduate School Department of Philosophy Mr. Antonio Diluvio The first aim of reconstructionist education an educational philosophy founded on the belief in a review of prevailing educational systems as corollary to the unceasing need for social change -is for education to be the instrument by which social and cultural improvement is achieved. These changes, according to reconstructionists are necessary in the journey towards a good future and a better world the final aims of the reconstructionist educational philosophy. The goal of reconstructionist learning for students is that they themselves may envision the good future and spend their learning as a preparation for their role in the future for which they reach. The reconstructionist student is characterized as prepared to take on the future, inquisitive, openminded. He has a high sense of duty towards fellow human beings or social responsibility. He possesses instrumental and expressive skills, humor, kindness, and compassion. He is a highly effective communicator. In order to help instill the listed characteristics into the students, reconstructionist teachers strive for an affective approach towards cognitive experiences. That is, learning is facilitated not only in dialogue with the minds but especially with the hearts of students so that they are more deeply engaged in the learning experience. Participation is highly encouraged. Wallflowers are drawn out of their shell to give them the confidence to make a contribution to learning. The Protestant ethic pressure is sharply reduced: instead of penalizing non-learning and rewarding rigid faithfulness to curriculum content, such artificial crutches to aid learning are dispensed with in favor of captivating the student to learn out of his own free will. Teaching is geared towards the maximum self-realization of the student. As Harold and June Grant Shane write, this could mean among others varied school entrance ages, perhaps different hours spent in learning, certainly a large number of personalized experiences, and new thinking as to the desirable limits of compulsory attendance at the secondary level. Finally, society is accountable for the education of the young, that is, those who finish formal schooling under the reconstructionist method do not only go their own way to serve society but also

take their turn in keeping an eye on the students following in their footsteps. The graduates who form society become vanguards of an education that should be kept on its toes as a reformer of society. The aforementioned authors consider as the genuinely important content of instruction not mere data or information but learning skills, that is, abilities to absorb and synthesize knowledge into a meaningful whole that can be applied and/or adapted to situations as and when necessary. This is why they list as part of curriculum content the use of many media in addition to texts, the training of the child to take initiative and to plan together with a group, and multiple instead of single learnings.

Philosophical skepticism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For a general discussion of skepticism, see Skepticism. Philosophical skepticism (from Greek , skepsis meaning "enquiry"; UK spelling scepticism) is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt.[1] This skepticism can range from disbelief in contemporary philosophical solutions, to agnosticism, to rejecting the reality of the external world. One kind of scientific skepticism refers to the critical analysis of claims lacking empirical evidence. Philosophical skepticism is an old movement with many variations, and contrasts with the view that anything is certain, especially with absolute or unconditional certainty. For example, Hellenistic philosophers would claim such beliefs are dogmatism. Philosophical skepticism is distinguished from methodological skepticism in that philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge, whereas methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims.

1 History

1.1 Ancient Western Skepticism

1.1.1 Sextus Empiricus

1.2 Ancient Eastern Skepticism

1.2.1 Buddhism 1.2.2 Crvka philosophy 1.2.3 Jain Philosophy of Anekantavada and Syadavada 1.2.4 Chinese philosophy

1.2.5 Islam

2 Schools of philosophical skepticism 3 Epistemology and skepticism

3.1 Criticism of skepticism

4 Skeptical hypotheses 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

History[edit source]
Ancient Western Skepticism[edit source]
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2011)

The Western tradition of systematic skepticism goes back at least as far as Pyrrho of Elis (b. circa 360 BCE). He was troubled by the disputes that could be found within all philosophical schools of his day. According to a later account of his life, he became overwhelmed by his inability to determine rationally which school was correct. Upon admitting this to himself, he finally achieved the inner peace that he had been seeking. From a Stoic point of view, Pyrrho found peace by admitting to ignorance and seeming to abandon the criterion by which knowledge is gained. Pyrrho's ignorance was not the ignorance of children or farm animals: it was a knowledgeable ignorance, arrived at through the application of logical reasoning and exposition of its inadequacy. The school of thought developed primarily in opposition to what it saw as the dogmatism, or ultimately unfounded assertions of the Stoics; Pyrrhonists made distinctions between "being" and "appearing" and between the identity and the sensing of a phenomenon. Pyrrho and his school were not actually "skeptics" in the later sense of the word. They had the goal of (ataraxia - peace of mind), and pitted one dogmatic philosophy against the next to undermine belief in the whole philosophic enterprise. The idea was to produce in the student a state of aversion towards what the Pyrrhonists considered arbitrary and inconsequential babble. Since no one can observe or otherwise experience causation, external world (its "externality"), ultimate purpose of the universe or life, justice, divinity, soul, etc., they declared no need to believe in such things. The Pyrrhonists pointed out that, despite claims that such notions were necessary, some people "ignorant" of them get by just fine before learning about them. They further noted that science does not require belief and that faith in

intelligible realities is different from pragmatic convention for the sake of experiment. For each intuitive notion (e.g. the existence of an external world), the Pyrrhonists cited a contrary opinion to negate it. They added that consensus indicates neither truth nor even probability. For example, the earth is round, and it would remain so even if everyone believed it were flat. The opposite might also be the case. The goal of this critique, which Pyrrho's followers realized would ultimately subvert even their own method, was to cultivate a distrust of all grand talk. They expected philosophy to collapse into itself. How far in this direction the Pyrrhonean commitment extended is a matter of debate. The Pyrrhonists confessed a belief in appearances, e.g. in hot and cold, grief and joy. It is impossible to deny, they admitted, that one seems to be in pain or seems to touch a piece of wood. Their world, thus, was completely phenomenological. An accomplished Pyrrhonist could, ideally, live as well as a dogmatist but with the added benefit of not worrying about truth and falsity, right and wrong, God's will, and so forth. Later thinkers took up Pyrrho's approach and extended it into modern skepticism. In the process, a split appeared within the movement, never too large or well liked among the literati to begin with. In the Academic skepticism of the New or Middle Academy, Arcesilaus (c. 315-241 BCE) and Carneades (c. 213-129 BCE) argued from Stoic premises that the Stoics were actually committed to denying the possibility of knowledge, but seemed to maintain nothing themselves, but Clitomachus, a student of Carneades, interpreted his teacher's philosophy as suggesting an early probabilistic account of knowledge. The Roman politician and philosopher, Cicero, also seems to have been a supporter of the probabilistic position attributed to the Middle Academy, even if the return to a more dogmatic orientation of that school was already beginning to take place. Diogenes Lartius lists ten modes of reasoning which Pyrrhonists thought justified their position: [2] 1. Some things give animals pleasure which give other animals pain. What is useful to one animal is harmful to another. 2. Each human has a different assortment of preferences, abilities and interests. 3. Each sense gives a different impression of the same object. 4. There is no reason to think one is sane while others are insanethe opposite could be true. 5. Cultures disagree regarding beauty, truth, goodness, religion, life and justice. 6. There is no consistency in perception. (His examples were that the color purple will show different tints depending on the lighting, a person looks different between noon and sunset, and a very heavy rock on land is lighter when in water) 7. The senses can be shown to be deceptive. (From distance, the square tower looks round and the sun looks small)

8. Things that strengthen in moderation will weaken when taken in excess, like wine and food. 9. When a thing is rare, it surprises people. When a thing is common, it does not surprise people. 10. Inter-relations among things are of course relative, and by themselves are unknowable. (i.e. To know 'father' you must know 'son,' but to know 'son' you must know 'father.' Neither can be known by itself) In the centuries to come, the words Academician and Pyrrhonist would often be used to mean generally skeptic, often ignoring historical changes and distinctions between denial of knowledge and avoidance of belief, between degree of belief and absolute belief, and between possibility and probability.[citation needed]

Sextus Empiricus[edit source]

Sextus Empiricus (c. 200 CE), the main authority for Pyrrhonian skepticism, worked outside the Academy, which by his time had ceased to be a skeptical or probabilistic school, and argued in a different direction, incorporating aspects of empiricism into the basis for evaluating knowledge, but without the insistence on experience as the absolute standard of it. Sextus' empiricism was limited to the "absolute minimum" already mentioned that there seem to be appearances. He developed this basic thought of Pyrrho's into lengthy arguments, most of them directed against Stoics and Epicureans, but also the Academic skeptics. The common anti-skeptical argument is that if one knows nothing, one cannot know that one knows nothing, and so may know something after all. It is worth noting that such an argument only succeeds against the complete denial of the possibility of knowledge. Considering dogmatic the claims both to know and not to know, Sextus and his followers claimed neither. Instead, despite the apparent conflict with the goal of ataraxia, they claimed to continue searching for something that might be knowable. Empiricus, as the most systematic and dogmatic author of the works by Hellenistic sceptics which have survived, noted that there are at least ten modes of skepticism. These modes may be broken down into three categories: one may be skeptical of the subjective perceiver, of the objective world, and the relation between perceiver and the world.[3] His arguments are as follows. Subjectively, both the powers of the senses and of reasoning may vary among different people. And since knowledge is a product of one or the other, and since neither are reliable, knowledge would seem to be in trouble. For instance, a color-blind person sees the world quite differently from everyone else. Moreover, one cannot even give preference on the basis of the power of reason, i.e., by treating the rational animal as a carrier of greater knowledge than the irrational animal, since the irrational animal is still adept at navigating their environment, which suggests the ability to "know" about some aspects of the environment. Secondly, the personality of the individual might also have an impact on what they observe, since (it is argued) preferences are based on sense-impressions, differences in preferences can be attributed to differences in the way that people are affected by the object. (Empiricus:56)

Third, the perceptions of each individual sense seemingly have nothing in common with the other senses: i.e., the color "red" has little to do with the feeling of touching a red object. This is manifest when our senses "disagree" with each other: for example, a mirage presents certain visible features, but is not responsive to any other kind of sense. In that case, our other senses defeat the impressions of sight. But one may also be lacking enough powers of sense to understand the world in its entirety: if one had an extra sense, then one might know of things in a way that the present five senses are unable to advise us of. Given that our senses can be shown to be unreliable by appealing to other senses, and so our senses may be incomplete (relative to some more perfect sense that one lacks), then it follows that all of our senses may be unreliable. (Empiricus:58) Fourth, our circumstances when one perceives anything may be either natural or unnatural, i.e., one may be either in a state of wakefulness or sleep. But it is entirely possible that things in the world really are exactly as they appear to be to those in unnatural states (i.e., if everything were an elaborate dream). (Empiricus:59) One can have reasons for doubt that are based on the relationship between objective "facts" and subjective experience. The positions, distances, and places of objects would seem to affect how they are perceived by the person: for instance, the portico may appear tapered when viewed from one end, but symmetrical when viewed at the other; and these features are different. Because they are different features, to believe the object has both properties at the same time is to believe it has two contradictory properties. Since this is absurd, one must suspend judgment about what properties it possesses due to the contradictory experiences. (Empiricus:63) One may also observe that the things one perceives are, in a sense, polluted by experience. Any given perceptionsay, of a chairwill always be perceived within some context or other (i.e., next to a table, on a mat, etc.) Since this is the case, one often only speaks of ideas as they occur in the context of the other things that are paired with it, and therefore, one can never know of the true nature of the thing, but only how it appears to us in context. (Empiricus: 64) Along the same lines, the skeptic may insist that all things are relative, by arguing that: 1. 2. 3. Absolute appearances either differ from relative appearances, or they do not. If absolutes do not differ from relatives, then they are themselves relative. But if absolutes do differ from relatives, then they are relative, because all things that differ must differ from something; and to "differ" from something is to be relative to something. (Empiricus:67) Finally, one has reason to disbelieve that one knows anything by looking at problems in understanding objects by themselves. Things, when taken individually, may appear to be very different than when they

are in mass quantities: for instance, the shavings of a goat's horn are white when taken alone, yet the horn intact is black.

Ancient Eastern Skepticism[edit source]

Buddhism[edit source]
Buddhist skepticism (Zen Buddhism) is not concerned with whether a thing exists or not. The Zen masters would answer questions "koans" with seemingly unrelated responses such as hitting the student. This would serve as a means of pulling the student back from the confusion of intellectual pontification, and into a direct experience. Since in Zen, all there is a direct experience, which cannot be explained or clarified beyond the experience itself, this answers the question.

Buddha is said to have touched the earth at the time of his enlightenment so that it could witness his enlightenment. In this way, Buddhism does not claim that knowledge is unattainable.

Buddhism places less emphasis on truth and knowledge than western philosophical skepticism. Instead, it emphasizes the goal of Bodhi, which, although often translated as enlightenment, does not imply truth or knowledge.

At least in its manifestation of Nagarjuna's texts that form the core of Madhyamaka, the antiessentialist aspect of Buddhism makes it an anti-philosophy.[dubious discuss]From that stance, truth exists solely within the contexts that assert them.

Crvka philosophy[edit source]

The Crvka (Sanskrit: ) school of skepticism, also known as Lokyata, is a distinct branch of Indian

philosophy. The school is named after Crvka, author of the Brhaspatya-stras and was founded in approximately 500 BC. Crvka is classified as a "heterodox" (nstika) system, characterized as a materialistic and atheistic school of thought.

Jain Philosophy of Anekantavada and Syadavada[edit source]

Main articles: Anekantavada and Syadvada Anekntavda also known as the principle of relative pluralism, is one of the basic principles of Jainism. According to this, the truth or the reality is perceived differently from different points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth.[4][5] Jain doctrine states that, an object has infinite modes of existence and qualities and, as such, they cannot be completely perceived in all its aspects and manifestations, due to inherent limitations of the humans. Anekntavda is literally the doctrine of non onesidedness or manifoldness; it is often translated as "non-absolutism". Sydvda is the theory of conditioned predication which provides an expression to aneknta by recommending that epithet Syd be attached to every expression.[6] Sydvda is not only an extension of Aneknta ontology, but a separate

system of logic capable of standing on its own force. As reality is complex, no single proposition can express the nature of reality fully. Thus the term syt should be prefixed before each proposition giving it a conditional point of view and thus removing any dogmatism in the statement.[5] The seven propositions also known assaptabhangi are[7] 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Syd-asti in some ways it is, syd-nsti - in some ways it is not, syd-asti-nsti - in some ways it is and it is not, syd-asti-avaktavya - in some ways it is and it is indescribable, syd-nsti-avaktavya - in some ways it is not and it is indescribable, syd-asti-nsti-avaktavya - in some ways it is, it is not and it is indescribable, syd-avaktavya- in some ways it is indescribable

Each of these seven propositions examines the complex and multifaceted reality from a relative point of view of time, space, substance and mode. To ignore the complexity of the objects is to commit the fallacy of dogmatism. For a rigorous logical and mathematical interpretation see M. K. Jain, Current Science.100, 1663-1672 (2011).

Chinese philosophy[edit source]

In China, the preeminent Daoist work Zhuangzi, attributed to 4th century BC philosopher Zhuangzi during the Hundred Schools of Thought period, is skeptical in nature and provides also two famous skeptical paradoxes, "The Happiness of Fish" and "Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly". Wang Chong introduced a form of naturalism based on a rational critique of the superstition that was overtaking Confucianism and Daoism in the 1st century CE. His neo-Daoist philosophy was based on a secular, rational practice not unlike the scientific method.

Islam[edit source]
In Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy, the scholar Al-Ghazali (10581111) is considered a pioneer of methodic doubt and skepticism.[8][not in citation given] His 11th century book titled The Incoherence of the Philosophers marks a major turn in Islamic epistemology, as Ghazali effectively discovered a methodic form of philosophical skepticism that would not be commonly seen in the West until Ren Descartes, George Berkeley and David Hume. The encounter with skepticism led Ghazali to embrace a form of theological occasionalism, or the belief that all causal events and interactions are not the product of material conjunctions but rather the immediate and present will of God. While he himself was a critic of the philosophers, Ghazali was a master in the art of philosophy and had immensely studied the field. After such a long education in philosophy, as well as a long process of reflection, he had criticized the philosophical method.

The autobiography Ghazali wrote towards the end of his life, The Deliverance From Error (Al-munqidh min al-all; several English translations[9]) is considered a work of major importance.[10] In it, Ghazali recounts how, once a crisis of epistemological skepticism was resolved by "a light which God Most High cast into my breast...the key to most knowledge,"[11] he studied and mastered the arguments of Kalam, Islamic philosophy and Ismailism. Though appreciating what was valid in the first two of these, at least, he determined that all three approaches were inadequate and found ultimate value only in the mystical experience and spiritual insight (Spiritual intuitive thought Firasa and Nur) he attained as a result of following Sufi practices. William James, in Varieties of Religious Experience, considered the autobiography an important document for "the purely literary student who would like to become acquainted with the inwardness of religions other than the Christian", comparing it to recorded personal religious confessions and autobiographical literature in the Christian tradition.[12] Scholars have noted the similarities between Descartes' Discourse on Method and Ghazali's work[8] and the writer George Henry Lewes went even further by claiming that "had any translation of it [The Revival of Religious Sciences] in the days of Descartes existed, everyone would have cried out against the plagiarism."[13][not in citation given]

Schools of philosophical skepticism[edit source]

Philosophical skepticism begins with the claim that the skeptic currently does not have knowledge. Some adherents maintain that knowledge is, in theory, possible. It could be argued thatSocrates held that view. He appears to have thought that if people continue to ask questions they might eventually come to have knowledge; but that they did not have it yet. Some skeptics have gone further and claimed that true knowledge is impossible, for example the Academic school in Ancient Greece well after the time of Carneades. A third skeptical approach would be neither to accept nor reject the possibility of knowledge. Skepticism can be either about everything or about particular areas. A 'global' skeptic argues that he does not absolutely know anything to be either true or false. Academic global skepticism has great difficulty in supporting this claim while maintaining philosophical rigor, since it seems to require that nothing can be known except for the knowledge that nothing can be known, though in its probabilistic form it can use and support the notion of weight of evidence. Thus, some probabilists avoid extreme skepticism by maintaining that they merely are 'reasonably certain' (or 'largely believe') some things are real or true. As for using probabilistic arguments to defend skepticism, in a sense this enlarges or increases scepticism, while the defence of empiricism by Empiricus weakens skepticism and strengthens dogmatism by alleging that sensory appearances are beyond doubt. Much later, Kant would re-define "dogmatism" to make indirect realism about the external world seem objectionable. While many Hellenists, outside of Empiricus, would maintain that everyone who is not sceptical about everything is a dogmatist, this position would seem too extreme for most later philosophers.

Nevertheless, A Pyrrhonian global skeptic labors under no such modern constraint, since he only alleged that he, personally, did not know anything and made no statement about the possibility of knowledge. Nor did Arcesilaus feel bound, since he merely corrected Socrates's "I only know that I know nothing" by adding "I don't even know that", thus more fully rejecting dogmatism. Local skeptics deny that people do or can have knowledge of a particular area. They may be skeptical about the possibility of one form of knowledge without doubting other forms. Different kinds of local skepticism may emerge, depending on the area. A person may doubt the truth value of different types of journalism, for example, depending on the types of media they trust. In Islamic philosophy, skepticism was established by Al-Ghazali (10581111), known in the West as "Algazel", as part of the Ash'ari school of Islamic theology. In the West itself, the one Renaissance thinker mostly viewed as the "Father of Modern Skepticism" is Michel de Montaigne, especially in his seminal Essays. Francisco Sanches's That Nothing is Known (published in 1581 as Quod nihil scitur) is also one of the crucial texts of Renaissance skepticism.[14]

Epistemology and skepticism[edit source]

Skepticism, as an epistomological argument, poses the question of whether knowledge, in the first place, is possible. Skeptics argue that the belief in something does not necessarily justify an assertion of knowledge of it. In this, skeptics oppose dogmatic foundationalism, which states that there have to be some basic positions that are self-justified or beyond justification, without reference to others. (One example of such foundationalism may be found in Spinoza's Ethics.) The skeptical response to this can take several approaches. First, claiming that "basic positions" must exist amounts to the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance combined with the slippery slope.[citation needed] Among other arguments, skeptics used Agrippa's trilemma, named after Agrippa the Sceptic, to claim no certain belief could be achieved. Foundationalists have used the same trilemma as a justification for demanding the validity of basic beliefs. This skeptical approach is rarely taken to its pyrrhonean extreme by most practitioners. Several modifications have arisen over the years, including the following [1]: Fictionalism would not claim to have knowledge but will adhere to conclusions on some criterion such as utility, aesthetics, or other personal criteria without claiming that any conclusion is actually "true". Philosophical fideism (as opposed to religious Fideism) would assert the truth of some propositions, but does so without asserting certainty.

Some forms of pragmatism would accept utility as a provisional guide to truth but not necessarily a universal decision-maker.

Criticism of skepticism[edit source]

Most philosophies have weaknesses and can be criticized and this is a general principle of progression in philosophy.[15] The philosophy of skepticism asserts that no truth is knowable[16] or only probable.[17] Some say the scientific method also asserts probable findings, because the number of cases tested is always limited and they constitute perceptual observations.[18] Another criticism is the proposition that no truth is knowable is knowably true is contradictory.[19] The here is one hand argument is also another relatively simple criticism that reverses the skeptic's proposals and supports common sense. Pierre Le Morvan (2011) has distinguished between three broad philosophical approaches to skepticism. The first he calls the "Foil Approach." According to the latter, skepticism is treated as a problem to be solved, or challenge to be met, or threat to be parried; skepticisms value on this view, insofar as it is deemed to have one, accrues from its role as a foil contrastively illuminating what is required for knowledge and justified belief. The second he calls the "Bypass Approach" according to which skepticism is bypassed as a central concern of epistemology. Le Morvan advocates a third approach he dubs it the "Health Approach"that explores when skepticism is healthy and when it is not, or when it is virtuous and when it is vicious.

Skeptical hypotheses[edit source]

A skeptical hypothesis is a hypothetical situation which can be used in an argument for skepticism about a particular claim or class of claims. Usually the hypothesis posits the existence of a deceptive power that deceives our senses and undermines the justification of knowledge otherwise accepted as justified. Skeptical hypotheses have received much attention in modern Western philosophy. The first skeptical hypothesis in modern Western philosophy appears in Ren Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. At the end of the first Meditation Descartes writes: "I will suppose... that some evil demon of the utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies to deceive me."

The "Brain in a vat" hypothesis is cast in scientific terms. It supposes that one might be a disembodied brain kept alive in a vat, and fed false sensory signals, by a mad scientist.

The "Dream argument" of Descartes and Zhuangzi supposes reality to be indistinguishable from a dream.

Descartes' Evil demon is a being "as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me."

The five minute hypothesis (or omphalos hypothesis or Last Thursdayism) suggests that the world was created recently together with records and traces indicating a greater age.

The Simulated reality hypothesis or "Matrix hypothesis" suggest that everyone, or even the entire universe, might be inside a computer simulation or virtual reality.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the philosophical method, position, theory, or view. For other uses, see Rationalism (disambiguation). In epistemology, rationalism is the view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge"[1] or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification."[2] More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive."[3] Rationalists believe reality has an intrinsically logical structure. Because of this, rationalists argue that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. That is to say, rationalists assert that certain rational principles exist in logic, mathematics, ethics, and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction. Rationalists have such a high confidence in reason that proof and physical evidence are unnecessary to ascertain truth in other words, "there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience."[4] Because of this belief, empiricism is one of rationalism's greatest rivals. Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position "that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge" to the more extreme position that reason is "the unique path to knowledge."[5] Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, rationalism is identical to philosophy, the Socratic life of inquiry, or the zetetic (skeptical) clear interpretation of authority (open to the underlying or essential cause of things as they appear to our sense of certainty). In recent decades, Leo Strauss sought to revive "Classical Political Rationalism" as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. Rationalism should not be confused with rationality, nor withrationalization. In politics, rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a "politics of reason" centered upon rational choice, utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion[6] the latter aspects' anti-traditionalist and antitheistic elements since partly ameliorated by utilitarian adoption of pluralistic rationalist methods practicable irrespective of particular ideologies.[7][8]

1 Philosophical usage

o o

1.1 Theory of justification 1.2 Theses of rationalism

1.2.1 The intuition/deduction thesis 1.2.2 The innate knowledge thesis 1.2.3 The innate concept thesis 1.2.4 The other two theses

2 Background 3 History

3.1 Rationalist philosophy from antiquity

3.1.1 Pythagoras (570495 BCE) 3.1.2 Plato (427347 BCE) 3.1.3 Aristotle (384322 BCE) 3.1.4 After Aristotle

3.2 Modern rationalism

4 See also

3.2.1 Ren Descartes (15961650) 3.2.2 Baruch Spinoza (16321677) 3.2.3 Gottfried Leibniz (16461716) 3.2.4 Immanuel Kant (17241804)

5 References 6 External links

Philosophical usage[edit source]

Rationalism is often contrasted with empiricism. Taken very broadly these views are not mutually exclusive, since a philosopher can be both rationalist and empiricist.[2] Taken to extremes, the empiricist view holds that all ideas come to us a posteriori, that is to say, through experience; either through the external senses or through such inner sensations as pain and gratification. The empiricist essentially believes that knowledge is based on or derived directly from experience. The rationalist believes we come to knowledge a priori through the use of logic and is thus independent of sensory experience. In other words, as Galen Strawson once wrote, "you can see that it is true just lying on your couch. You don't have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don't have to do any science."[9] Between both philosophies, the issue at hand is the fundamental source of human knowledge and the proper techniques for verifying what we think we know. Whereas both philosophies are under the umbrella of epistemology, their

argument lies in the understanding of the warrant, which is under the wider epistemic umbrella of the theory of justification.

Theory of justification[edit source]

Main article: Theory of justification The theory of justification is the part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability. Of these four terms, the term that has been most widely used and discussed by the early 21st century is "warrant." Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (probably) holds a belief. If A makes a claim, and B then casts doubt on it, As next move would normally be to provide justification. The precise method one uses to provide justification is where the lines are drawn between rationalism and empiricism (among other philosophical views). Much of the debate in these fields are focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.

Theses of rationalism[edit source]

At its core, rationalism consists of three basic claims. For one to consider themselves a rationalist, they must adopt at least one of these three claims: The Intuition/Deduction Thesis, The Innate Knowledge Thesis, or The Innate Concept Thesis. In addition, rationalists can choose to adopt the claims of Indispensability of Reason and or the Superiority of Reason although one can be a rationalist without adopting either thesis.

The intuition/deduction thesis[edit source]

Main articles: Intuition (philosophy) and Deductive reasoning Rationale: "Some propositions in a particular subject area, S, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions."[10] Generally speaking, intuition is a priori knowledge or experiential belief characterized by its immediacy; a form of rational insight. We simply just "see" something in such a way as to give us a warranted belief. Beyond that, the nature of intuition is hotly debated. In the same way, generally speaking, deduction is the process of reasoning from one or more general premises to reach a logically certain conclusion. Using valid arguments, we can deduce from intuited premises. For example, when we combine both concepts, we can intuit that the number three is prime and that it is greater than two. We then deduce from this knowledge that there is a prime number greater than two. Thus, in

can be said that intuition and deduction combined to provide us with a priori knowledge we gained this knowledge independently of sense experience. Many empiricists, such as David Hume,[10] have been willing to accept this thesis for describing the relationships among our own concepts. In this sense, empiricists argue that we are allowed to intuit and deduce truths from knowledge that has been obtained a posteriori. By injecting different subjects into the Intuition/Deduction thesis, we are able to generate different arguments. Most rationalists agree mathematics is knowable by applying the intuition and deduction. Some go further to include ethical truths into the category of things knowable by intuition and deduction. Furthermore, some rationalists also claim metaphysics is knowable in this thesis. In addition to different subjects, rationalists sometimes vary the strength of their claims by adjusting their understanding of the warrant. Some rationalists understand warranted beliefs to be beyond even the slightest doubt; others are more conservative and understand the warrant to be belief beyond a reasonable doubt. Rationalists also have different understanding and claims involving the connection between intuition and truth. Some rationalists claim intuition is infallible and that anything we intuit to be true is as such. More contemporary rationalists accept intuition is not always a source of certain knowledge thus allowing for the possibility of a deceiver who might cause the rationalist to intuit a false proposition in the same way a third party could cause the rationalist to have perceptions of nonexistent objects. Naturally, the more subjects a rationalists claim is knowable by the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the more certain they are of their warranted beliefs, and the more strictly they adhere to the infallibility of intuition, the more controversial their truths or claims and the more radical their rationalism.[10] To argue in favor of this thesis, Gottfried Leibniz, a prominent German philosopher, says, "The senses, although they are necessary for all our actual knowledge, are not sufficient to give us the whole of it, since the senses never give anything but instances, that is to say particular or individual truths. Now all the instances which confirm a general truth, however numerous they may be, are not sufficient to establish the universal necessity of this same truth, for it does not follow that what happened before will happen in the same way again. From which it appears that necessary truths, such as we find in pure mathematics, and particularly in arithmetic and geometry, must have principles whose proof does not depend on instances, nor consequently on the testimony of the senses, although without the senses it would never have occurred to us to think of them"[11]

The innate knowledge thesis[edit source]

Rationale: "We have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature."[12] The Innate Knowledge thesis is similar to the Intuition/Deduction thesis in the regard that both theses claim knowledge is gained a priori. The two theses go their separate ways when describing how that

knowledge is gained. As the name, and the rationale, suggests, the Innate Knowledge thesis claims knowledge is simply part of our rational nature. Experiences can trigger a process that allows this knowledge to come into our consciousness, but the experiences dont provide us with the knowledge itself. The knowledge has been with us since the beginning and the experience simply brought into focus, in the same way a photographer can bring the background of a picture into focus by tweaking the angle of the shot or the zoom on the lens. The background was always there, just not in focus. This thesis targets a problem with the nature of inquiry originally postulated by Plato in Meno. Here, Plato asks about inquiry; how do we gain knowledge of a theorem in geometry? We inquire into the matter. Yet, knowledge by inquiry seems impossible.[13] In other words, "If we already have the knowledge, there is no place for inquiry. If we lack the knowledge, we don't know what we are seeking and cannot recognize it when we find it. Either way we cannot gain knowledge of the theorem by inquiry. Yet, we do know some theorems."[12] The Innate Knowledge thesis offers a solution to this paradox. By claiming that knowledge is already with us, either consciously or unconsciously, a rationalist claims we dont really "learn" things in the traditional usage of the word, but rather that we simply bring to light what we already know.

The innate concept thesis[edit source]

Rationale: "We have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature."[14] Similarly to the Innate Knowledge thesis, the Innate Concept thesis suggests that some concepts are simply part of our rational nature. These concepts are a priori in nature and sense experience is irrelevant to determining the nature of these concepts (though, sense experience can help bring the concepts to our conscious mind). Some philosophers, such as John Locke (who is considered one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment and an empiricist) argue that the Innate Knowledge thesis and the Innate Concept thesis are one and the same.[15] Other philosophers, such as Peter Carruthers, argue that the two theses are distinct from one another. As with the other theses covered under rationalisms' umbrella, the types and number of concepts a philosopher claims to be innate, the more controversial and radical their position; "the more a concept seems removed from experience and the mental operations we can perform on experience the more plausibly it may be claimed to be innate. Since we do not experience perfect triangles but do experience pains, our concept of the former is a more promising candidate for being innate than our concept of the latter.[14] In his book, Meditations on First Philosophy,[16] Ren Descartes postulates three classifications for our ideas when he says, "Among my ideas, some appear to be innate, some to be adventitious, and others to have been invented by me. My understanding of what a thing is, what truth is, and what thought is, seems to derive simply from my own nature. But my hearing a noise, as I do now, or seeing the sun, or feeling the fire,

comes from things which are located outside me, or so I have hitherto judged. Lastly, sirens, hippogriffs and the like are my own invention."[17] Adventitious ideas are those concepts that we gain through sense experiences, ideas such as the sensation of heat, because they originate from outside sources; transmitting their own likeness rather than something else and something you simply cant will away. Ideas invented by us, such as those found in mythology, legends, and fairy tales are created by us from other ideas we possess. Lastly, innate ideas, such as our ideas of perfection, are those ideas we have as a result of mental processes that are beyond what experience can directly or indirectly provide. Gottfried Wilhelm defends the idea of innate concepts by suggesting the mind plays a role in determining the nature of concepts, to explain this, he likes the mind to a block of marble in the New Essays on Human Understanding, "This is why I have taken as an illustration a block of veined marble, rather than a wholly uniform block or blank tablets, that is to say what is called tabula rasa in the language of the philosophers. For if the soul were like those blank tablets, truths would be in us in the same way as the figure of Hercules is in a block of marble, when the marble is completely indifferent whether it receives this or some other figure. But if there were veins in the stone which marked out the figure of Hercules rather than other figures, this stone would be more determined thereto, and Hercules would be as it were in some manner innate in it, although labour would be needed to uncover the veins, and to clear them by polishing, and by cutting away what prevents them from appearing. It is in this way that ideas and truths are innate in us, like natural inclinations and dispositions, natural habits or potentialities, and not like activities, although these potentialities are always accompanied by some activities which correspond to them, though they are often imperceptible." [18]

The other two theses[edit source]

The three aforementioned theses of Intuition/Deduction, Innate Knowledge, and Innate Concept are the cornerstones of rationalism. To be considered a rationalist, one must adopt at least one of those three claims. The following two theses are traditionally adopted by rationalists, but they arent essential to the rationalists position. The Indispensability of Reason Thesis has the following rationale, "The knowledge we gain in subject area, S, by intuition and deduction, as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in S that are innate to us, could not have been gained by us through sense experience."[1] In short, this thesis claims that experience cannot provide what we gain from reason. The Superiority of Reason Thesis has the following rationale, '"The knowledge we gain in subject area S by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience." [1] In other words, this thesis claims reason is superior to experience as a source for knowledge.

In addition to the following claims, rationalists often adopt similar stances on other aspects of philosophy. Most rationalists reject skepticism for the areas of knowledge they claim are knowable a priori. Naturally, when you claim some truths are innately known to us, one must reject skepticism in relation to those truths. Especially for rationalists who adopt the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the idea of epistemic foundationalism tends to crop up. This is the view that we know some truths without basing our belief in them on any others and that we then use this foundational knowledge to know more truths.[1]

Background[edit source]
It is difficult to identify a major figure in the history of rationalism, or even a major period of history in rational thought before the Enlightenment. One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that humans have the ability to know information they otherwise shouldnt know primarily in the field of mathematics. Every philosopher has acknowledged this to some degree or another. Secondly, it is the nature of philosophical thought to obtain knowledge and information with the use of our rational faculties instead of coming to knowledge by mystical revelation. Since the Enlightenment, rationalism is usually associated with the introduction of mathematical methods into philosophy as seen in the works of Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza.[3] This is commonly called continental rationalism, because it was predominant in the continental schools of Europe, whereas in Britain empiricism dominated. Even then, the distinction between rationalists and empiricists was drawn at a later period and would not have been recognized by the philosophers involved. Also, the distinction between the two philosophies is not as clear-cut as is sometimes suggested; for example, Descartes and Locke have similar views about the nature of human ideas.[4] Proponents of some varieties of rationalism argue that, starting with foundational basic principles, like the axioms of geometry, one could deductively derive the rest of all possible knowledge. The philosophers who held this view most clearly were Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, whose attempts to grapple with the epistemological and metaphysical problems raised by Descartes led to a development of the fundamental approach of rationalism. Both Spinoza and Leibniz asserted that, in principle, all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, could be gained through the use of reason alone, though they both observed that this was not possible in practice for human beings except in specific areas such as mathematics. On the other hand, Leibniz admitted in his bookMonadology that "we are all mere Empirics in three fourths of our actions."[5]

History[edit source]
Rationalist philosophy from antiquity[edit source]
Because of the complicated nature of rationalist thinking, the nature of philosophy, and the understanding that humans are aware of knowledge available only through the use of rational thought, many of the great philosophers from antiquity laid down the foundation for rationalism though they themselves weren't rationalists as we understand the concept today.

Pythagoras (570495 BCE)[edit source]

Main article: Pythagoras Pythagoras was one of the first Western philosophers to stress rationalist insight. [19] He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist, but he is best known for the Pythagorean theorem, which bears his name, and for discovering the mathematical relationship between the length of strings on lute bear and the pitches of the notes. Pythagoras "believed these harmonies reflected the ultimate nature of reality. He summed up the implied metaphysical rationalism in the words "All is number." It is probable that he had caught the rationalists vision, later seen byGalileo (15641642), of a world governed throughout by mathematically formulable laws."[19] It has been said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom,[20]

Plato (427347 BCE)[edit source]

Main article: Plato Plato also held rational insight to a very high standard, as is seen in his works such as Meno and The Republic. Plato taught on the Theory of Forms (or the Theory of Ideas)[21][22][23] which asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.[24] Platos forms are accessible only to reason and not to sense.[19] In fact, it is said that Plato admired reason, especially in geometry, so highly that he had the phrase "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter" inscribed over the door to his academy.[25]

Aristotle (384322 BCE)[edit source]

Main article: Aristotle Aristotle has a process of reasoning similar to that of Platos, though he ultimately disagreed with the specifics of Platos forms. Aristotles great contribution to rationalist thinking comes from his use of syllogistic logic. Aristotle defines syllogism as "a discourse in which certain (specific) things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so."[26] Despite this very

general definition, Aristotle limits himself to categorical syllogisms which consist of three categorical propositions in his work Prior Analytics.[27]These included categorical modal syllogisms.[28]

After Aristotle[edit source]

Though the three great Greek philosophers disagreed with one another on specific points, they all agreed that rational thought could bring to light knowledge that was self-evident information that humans otherwise couldnt know without the use of reason. After Aristotles death, no great leaps in Western rationalistic thought occurred for the next 1,800 years. The only notable event in the Western timelime was the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas who attempted to merge Greek rationalism and Christian revelation in the thirteenthcentury.[19]

Modern rationalism[edit source]

Ren Descartes (15961650)[edit source]
Main article: Ren Descartes Descartes is the first of the modern rationalists and has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings,[29][30][31] which are studied closely to this day. Descartes thought that only knowledge of eternal truths including the truths of mathematics, and the epistemological and metaphysical foundations of the sciences could be attained by reason alone; other knowledge, the knowledge of physics, required experience of the world, aided by the scientific method. He also argued that although dreams appear as real as sense experience, these dreams cannot provide persons with knowledge. Also, since conscious sense experience can be the cause of illusions, then sense experience itself can be doubtable. As a result, Descartes deduced that a rational pursuit of truth should doubt every belief about reality. He elaborated these beliefs in such works as Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, and Principles of Philosophy. Descartes developed a method to attain truths according to which nothing that cannot be recognised by the intellect (or reason) can be classified as knowledge. These truths are gained "without any sensory experience," according to Descartes. Truths that are attained by reason are broken down into elements that intuition can grasp, which, through a purely deductive process, will result in clear truths about reality. Descartes therefore argued, as a result of his method, that reason alone determined knowledge, and that this could be done independently of the senses. For instance, his famous dictum, cogito ergo sum or "I think, therefore I am," is a conclusion reached a priori i.e., prior to any kind of experience on the matter. The simple meaning is that doubting ones existence, in and of itself, proves that an "I" exists to do the thinking. In other words, doubting ones own doubting is absurd. After reaching this[32] This was, for Descartes, an irrefutable principle upon which to ground all forms of other knowledge. Descartes posited a metaphysical dualism, distinguishing between the substances of the human body ("res extensa") and the mind or soul ("res cogitans").

This crucial distinction would be left unresolved and lead to what is known as the mind-body problem, since the two substances in the Cartesian system are independent of each other and irreducible.

Baruch Spinoza (16321677)[edit source]

Main article: Philosophy of Spinoza The philosophy of Baruch Spinoza is a systematic, logical, rational philosophy developed in seventeenthcentury Europe.[33][34][35] Spinoza's philosophy is a system of ideas constructed upon basic building blocks with an internal consistency with which he tried to answer life's major questions and in which he proposed that "God exists only philosophically."[35][36] He was heavily influenced by thinkers such as Descartes,[37] Euclid[36] and Thomas Hobbes,[37] as well as theologians in the Jewish philosophical tradition such as Maimonides.[37] But his work was in many respects a departure from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Many of Spinoza's ideas continue to vex thinkers today and many of his principles, particularly regarding the emotions, have implications for modern approaches to psychology. Even top thinkers have found Spinoza's "geometrical method"[35] difficult to comprehend: Goethe admitted that he "could not really understand what Spinoza was on about most of the time."[35] His magnum opus, Ethics, contains unresolved obscurities and has a forbidding mathematical structure modeled on Euclid's geometry.[36] Spinoza's philosophy attracted believers such as Albert Einstein[38] and much intellectual attention.[39][40][41][42][43]

Gottfried Leibniz (16461716)[edit source]

Main article: Gottfried Leibniz Leibniz was the last of the great Rationalists who contributed heavily to other fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, logic, mathematics, physics, jurisprudence, and the philosophy of religion; he is also considered to be one of the last "universal geniuses."[44] He did not develop his system, however, independently of these advances. Leibniz rejected Cartesian dualism and denied the existence of a material world. In Leibniz's view there are infinitely many simple substances, which he called "monads" (possibly taking the term from the work of Anne Conway). Leibniz developed his theory of monads in response to both Descartes and Spinoza. In rejecting this response he was forced to arrive at his own solution. Monads are the fundamental unit of reality, according to Leibniz, constituting both inanimate and animate things. These units of reality represent the universe, though they are not subject to the laws of causality or space (which he called "well-founded phenomena"). Leibniz, therefore, introduced his principle of pre-established harmony to account for apparent causality in the world.

Immanuel Kant (17241804)[edit source]

Main article: Immanuel Kant

Kant is one of the central figures of modern philosophy, and set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. He argued that human perception structures natural laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.[45] Kant named his branch of epistemology Transcendental Idealism, and he first laid out these views in his famous work The Critique of Pure Reason. In it he argued that there were fundamental problems with both rationalist and empiricist dogma. To the rationalists he argued, broadly, that pure reason is flawed when it goes beyond its limits and claims to know those things that are necessarily beyond the realm of all possible experience: the existence of God, free will, and the immortality of the human soul. Kant referred to these objects as "The Thing in Itself" and goes on to argue that their status as objects beyond all possible experience by definition means we cannot know them. To the empiricist he argued that while it is correct that experience is fundamentally necessary for human knowledge, reason is necessary for processing that experience into coherent thought. He therefore concludes that both reason and experience are necessary for human knowledge. In the same way, Kant also argued that it was wrong to regard thought as mere analysis. In Kant's views, a priori concepts do exist, but if they are to lead to the amplification of knowledge, they must be brought into relation with empirical data."[46]