Relationship between Education and Philosophy in the modern world


Education and philosophy, the two disciplines, are very closely related and in some areas they overlap each other. It is quite often said that, ‘Philosophy and Education are two sides of the same coin’. ‘Education is the dynamic side of philosophy’.

To elaborate further, ‘Philosophy and Education are the two flowers of one stem, the two sides of one coin. One can never be thought of without the other. The presence of one is incomplete without the other.

The art of education cannot be completed without philosophy and philosophy cannot convert others to its aims and values without education. There is a close interaction between the two; one without the other is unserviceable.’


Education is practical in nature and philosophy is theory. It is not vague to say that theory and practical are identical. The educator, who has to deal with the real facts of life, is different from the arm chair theorist who is busy in speculation.

But a close observation of the various interpretations of philosophy will prove that these two are nothing but the one and same thing seen from different angles. Philosophy is the study of the realities, the pursuit of wisdom.

It is not mere theorizing but something which comes naturally to every individual. A person who goes deep into the reason and nature of things and tries to arrive at certain general principles with a view to apply them in his daily life, is a philosopher.

Philosophy is a way of life. In a wider sense philosophy is a way of looking at life, nature and truth. It sets up the ideals for an individual to achieve them in his life time.


Education on the other hand is the dynamic side of philosophy. It is the active aspect and the practical means of realising the ideals of life. Education is a sacred necessity of life, both from the biological and sociological point of view.

It is true that education works like a catalyst for a better life, a social desirable life. As a pot is made out of clay and a finished product comes out of raw material, so also from the immature child comes out the civilized man through education.

Education renews and re-builds the social structure in the pattern of philosophical ideals. Human being, who is born and grows up with inherited propensities, determines the basic trails of man, but education paves a long way for his success in life.

Education according to Indian tradition is not merely a means to earn living, nor is it only a nursery of thought or a school for a citizenship. Rather, it is the initiation into the life of spirit, a training of human souls in pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue.


The basic relationship between philosophy and education can be analysed as follows. It is philosophy, that provides the purpose or the aim and it is education which makes it practical.

Philosophy shows the way and education moves on in that direction. When we define education as the modification or behaviour, the direction in which, modification to be carried out is determined by philosophy.

Thus philosophy deals with the end and education with the means. In fact, we can observe that the great philosophers of all times have been also great educators. For example, Socretes and Plato, the great philosophers, were also famous educators.

A teacher is not a teacher, in true sense of the term, if he/she is not able to discover the relationship between philosophy and education. According to Thomson, every teacher should realize the importance of philosophy in education.


Good philosophy thus would not only conceive the type of society which is needed in the society. It is philosophy which would give to the teachers a sense of adventure.

A true teacher should have knowledge of the subject he/she teaches the pupils and the society. He/she should also have the moralistic sense which comes from philosophy.

The choice of students must cater to the principles and purposes of philosophy. Choice of curriculum needs philosophers or leaders of thought. With the change of time and circumstances, the curricula also changes and this change can be brought out by philosophers alone.

The necessary conditions should be fulfilled so that the child is allowed to go in a free atmosphere with the ultimate aim of becoming a happy and a rightly adjusted person of the society.


The learning process is an active way of doing things; hence the curriculum for the child should concern itself with the realities of life.

As far as the methods of teaching are concerned, it can be said that the child is influenced; to give a particular shape to his life by the way he is taught.

The philosophy of the teacher is reflected in the child by his method of teaching. So the course of life of the child is definitely influenced by philosophy. Here comes the utility of philosophy.

The Education- philosophy relationship may be further pointed out as given below:

According to Alfred Weber “Philosophy is a search for comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of the nature of things a person who searches into the reason and nature of things, who tries to arrive at a general principle, and who attempts to apply those principles to daily conduct of life, acts like a true philosopher. According to John Dewey, philosophy is “critical reviewing of just those familiar things.”

Raymont argues, ‘ Philosophy is an unceasing? To discover the general truth that lies behind the particular facts, to discern also the reality that lies behind appearances.

” What is life? What is man’s origin? What is man’s destiny or goal? These are some of the questions of philosophical enquiry. Different philosophers try to answer these questions according to their own mature reflection and thinking. These different answers lead to different philosophies.

The Major Branches of Philosophy are: (a) Metaphysics or the discussion about the nature of ultimate reality and the cosmos, (b) Epistomology or the theory of knowledge, (c) Ethics, the theory of morality, (d) Aesthetics or the discussion of beauty, (e) Logic or the study of ideal method of thought and reasoning. Philosophy influences even the daily life of every individual.

An educator not only holds certain beliefs and ideals of life, he also tries to convert his pupils to his own views and his own way of life.

The influence of a person, holding a vital belief, brought to bear upon another person with the object of making him also to hold that belief, is education. Thus education means to lead out, through the modification of the native behaviour of the child.

Education is a laboratory where philosophic theories and speculations are tested and made concrete. Education may, therefore, be rightly called applied philosophy.

Philosophy is wisdom; education transmits that wisdom from one generation to the other.

Philosophy is in reality the theory of education. In other words, education is the dynamic side of philosophy, or application of the fundamental principles of philosophy.

Philosophy formulates the method, education its process. Philosophy gives ideals, values and principles, those ideals, values and principles.

A philosopher tries to live in accordance with those aims and values and also wants others to be converted to his beliefs and live according to them. This he can achieve through education which is the best means for the propagation of his philosophy.

Neo-Darwinism gave rise to the Prominence of the principles of struggle for existence, cut-throat competition, gradual process of adaptation of the purposiveness of life (or elanvital), intellectualism and man’s faith in reason.

Emphasis on knowledge received universal acceptance. In 20th century, the two world wars, and the consequent mass destruction wrought by the application of science, gave rise to less of faith in mere intellect.

Humanism, faith in higher principles and values of life, character development and emotional integration gained greater impetus.

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