Philosophy Of Education

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Philosophies of Education of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant

Table of Contents


Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Realism2

Immanuel Kant - Idealism4

Comparison and contrast of Realism and Idealism in education7



Philosophies of Education of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant


In the history of literature on education, Plato's Republic is one of the most significant books to date. After his book, comes the famous book written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau called Émile. In the philosophy of education, the names of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant are most famous. Philosophy of education has two dimensions to it; one is the applied philosophy whereas the other is the educational philosophy. Philosophy of education is based on the definition, meaning and goals of education as laid down by a vision of education (William, 2006). The philosophy of education deals with the problems in the field of education and while the central theme of the field is education, the focus is on the philosophy behind it. In this context, it is important to state that philosophy of education is not something that is taught to philosophy students rather it is covered in the educational departments of universities. This is because in the field of philosophy of education, the purpose of education is unified with the curriculum, pedagogy and theories of learning.

The research paper discusses the philosophies of realism and idealism in education as given by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant respectively. It compares and contrasts them and discusses how the presence of a common developmental process in all human beings as suggested by Jean-Jacques Rousseau is different from the notion of thinking held by Immanuel Kant.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Realism

Jean-Jacques Rousseau presented himself as a man of paradoxes instead of a man of prejudices. The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is the focal point of many developments in the matters of education. The success of the book Émile is in direct contrast to the fact that Rousseau himself was not a very successful private tutor. Some have criticized the work of Rousseau as highly utopian. However, the work still remains an inspiration to many through the years. It was because Rousseau's work was grounded in the basics (Soëtard, 1999).

“Men, be humane. This is your first duty. Be humane with every station, every age, everything which is not alien to man.”

This humanity is important for both teachers and students in that they may be able to listen to each other and respect each others' views even if they are in direct contrast with each other. Rousseau's work was contemporary in that he had the courage to disregard the philosophy of education as given by Plato. He rejected the Plato's philosophy on the pretext that it was inapplicable in the decayed state of society (Yang, 2004).

The Rousseau's philosophy of education was based on his differing theory on human development. Rousseau's views of human development was different from that of Plato in that Plato was a firm believer that every human being is born with a set of skills based on ...
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