Educational philosophy

10 January 2019

The introduction of the analytical method to the field of the philosophy of education led to a first golden age, which, as the method closed in on itself and isolated itself from educational reality, resulted in an epistemological and institutional crisis. In view of that crisis, the generations following that first period began a lively debate on how to move forward. This article, with the aim of considering the positions proposed, derives from this latter scenario. Its method is characterized by two basic elements. The first is a systematic review of all articles on philosophy of education by the main authors in the discipline. The second is a hermeneutic exercise that attempts to compose a unitary discourse combining the main sensitivities of all of them. This results in the identification of five notable groups that differ mainly in the relationship that philosophy of education must maintain with educational practice and, consequently, in how the philosopher’s exercise of education should be considered. This leads into a discussion about whether it is possible to consider all of these positions as integral parts of a whole that seeks to understand the phenomenon of education and improve it overall instead of regarding them as parts in themselves. If there is one reasonably clear conclusion, it is that it seems unlikely that a unifying perspective like the analytical one will reappear and that a dynamic of reciprocal dialogical relations is necessary as a new emerging paradigm.


This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 272 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Luque, D. (2019). Desarrollos interpretativos de la filosofía de la educación en la tradición anglófona: un intento de sistematización | Interpretive developments of the philosophy of education in the anglophone tradition: an attempt to systematise them. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 77 (272), 67-82. doi:

19 November 2015

This is a speculative response to the article published in this journal by Fernando Gil Cantero and David Reyero advocating the priority of philosophy of education on empirical research. This answer is based on four arguments: Contemporary empirical research involves an ontology rather complex than it is assumed in their paper.The relationship between both disciplines takes place at two levels: At the most general level they are interdependent; at the lower level, close to the action, they can not contradict each other. In order to apply knowledge coming from both disciplines to practical problems, an epistemic intermediary is necessary. This intermediary combines principles derived from both disciplines, but also additional assumptions that jointly shape a pedagogical normative. The epistemic intermediary is what we call the professional wisdom, whose intertwined components are wisdom and technology, both necessary for the professional performance of teachers.

19 November 2015

This is a reply to José Luis Gavirias paper <The Priority of the Philosophy of Education over the Empirical Disciplines in Educational Research. A response to Gil Cantero and Reyero>. The main arguments to be discussed are as follows: Education is an action, not an object, nor a closed mechanism made of programmed inputs and outputs which can be probabilistically considered. Education is essentially constituted by value orientations; the complex reality of the human is not limited by what is real, current or empirical. What is possible is relevant too. Hope takes part of educational knowledge; the hope that what is unexpected finally happens. Judgment in education is a kind of unveiling, it is an empathic adequacy, it is the subjective experience of an educational ideal which appears to us as a whole coherent with a particular sense of reality.

8 June 2007

Based on the philosophy of Kant, various attempts made in the 19th and early-20th centuries to constitute pedagogy as a scientific discipline are presented. Analysis is made of the educational function of the aesthetic experience according to Schiller, Herbart’s model, the return of Kant through Natorp’s regulatory pedagogy and, finally, the constitution of pedagogy as the science of the spirit.