I assume the list is short, so can someone please list which philosophers (not pure educationalists) wrote entire books or treatises dedicated to education? I can name a few, for example, John Dewey's Experience and Education, John Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education, and Rousseau's Emile.


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    See Philosopy of Education Sep 11, 2022 at 17:49
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    Pretty sure the list isn't short. After all, it starts at least as early as Socrates and goes on to include philosophers currently alive.
    – BillOnne
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:48
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    Top of head...Plato (Republic, Meno, etc.), Montaigne, Rousseau (Emile), Diderot, John Dewey...but really, many, I'm sure. Dewey is probably the biggest name most directly linked to work on education. Sep 11, 2022 at 20:56
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    Read John Taylor Gatto's book Underground History of American Education. It's full with quotations from best and most influential educators and thinkers in general. Sep 12, 2022 at 11:40
  • Bert Russell wrote several essays and books on education.
    – Bumble
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:37

3 Answers 3


If you meant, which philosophers wrote exclusively about education, I suspect that is none. You mentioned John Dewey, who here at the University of Chicago's lab school, is of course known for his contributions, but most philosophers cover philosophy tangentially to other works. It's a lot of work to suss out which passages from the great thinkers are applicable, but besides the SEP article Philosophy of Education Allegranza mentions in the comments, there are books devoted to this. The one I have is The Philosophical Foundations of Education, 7th Ed (GB). I'll list the philosophers by table of contents:

  1. Idealism and Education - Plato The Republic, Kant Education
  2. Realism and Education - Aristotle The Politics and Ethics of Aristotle, Locke Some Thoughts Concerning Education
  3. Eastern Philosophy, Religion, and Education - Bhagavad-Gita, Suzuki Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
  4. Pragmatism and Education - James Talks to Teachers, Dewey Democracy and Education
  5. Reconstructionism and Education - Counts Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order?, Shane and Shane Educating the Youngest for Tomorrow
  6. Behaviorism and Education - Hobbes The Leviathan, Skinner Beyond Freedom and Dignity
  7. Existentialism, Phenomenology, and Education - Sartre Existentialism and Humanism, Greene Landscapes of Learning
  8. Analytic Philosophy and Education - Martin On the Reduction of "Knowing That" to "Knowing How", Barrow *Does the Question "What Is Education?" Make Sense?
  9. Marxism and Education - Marx On Education
  10. Philosophy, Education, and the Challenge of Postmoderinism - Giroux Border Pedagogy as Postmodern Resistance, Nuyen Lyotard as Moral Educator

To Chapter 7 I'd add Morris van Cleve Existentialism in Education: What It Means who was here at UIC and to Chapter 9 I'd add Paolo Friere Pedagogy of the Oppressed which is critical theoretical in nature who is also very popular, at least in Chicagoland curricula. Also, there's no clear line of demarcation between philosophy of education and a naturalized epistemology (SEP) refering to educational psychology, so any work by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are a must.

The book I reference does have additional pointers to passages and works not listed in the table of contents. For instance, just flipping through A.N. Whitehead, a contemporary of Russell wrote a very brief Aims of Education (Almost as short as Dewey's Democracy and Education) and some work by Richard Rorty. And there are other textbooks that conduct comparable surveys.


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