What Is Education?

Paperback | March 29, 2016

byPhilip W. Jackson

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One day in 1938, John Dewey addressed a room of professional educators and urged them to take up the task of “finding out just what education is.” Reading this lecture in the late 1940s, Philip W. Jackson took Dewey’s charge to heart and spent the next sixty years contemplating his words. The stimulating result of a lifetime of thinking about educating, What Is Education? is a profound philosophical exploration of how we transmit knowledge in human society and how we think about accomplishing that vital task.
 
Most contemporary approaches to education follow a strictly empirical track, aiming to discover pragmatic solutions for teachers and school administrators. Jackson argues that we need to learn not just how to improve on current practices but also how to think about what education means—in short, we need to answer Dewey by constantly rethinking education from the ground up. Guiding us through the many facets of Dewey’s comments, Jackson also calls on Hegel, Kant, and Paul Tillich to shed light on how a society does, can, and should transmit truth and knowledge to successive generations. Teasing out the implications in these thinkers’ works ultimately leads Jackson to the conclusion that education is at root a moral enterprise.
 
At a time when schools increasingly serve as a battleground for ideological contests, What Is Education? is a stirring call to refocus our minds on what is for Jackson the fundamental goal of education: making students as well as teachers—and therefore everyone—better people.

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One day in 1938, John Dewey addressed a room of professional educators and urged them to take up the task of “finding out just what education is.” Reading this lecture in the late 1940s, Philip W. Jackson took Dewey’s charge to heart and spent the next sixty years contemplating his words. The stimulating result of a lifetime of thinkin...

Philip W. Jackson (1929–2015) was the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Education and Psychology and in the College at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including Life in Classrooms, The Practice of Teaching, and John Dewey and the Philosopher’s Task.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:134 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:March 29, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638134X

ISBN - 13:9780226381343

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Dewey's Parting Words
2 Trafficking in Truth
3 Preconditions of Education
4 Unifying Essence and Existence
5 Making Subjects Matter
6 In Pursuit of Perfection
7 Education as a Moral Enterprise

Further Reading
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“What is Education? presents a fascinating exploration of different ways of thinking about education, and it is arguably the reflective quality of the writing that makes the discussion so engaging. As a reader, it feels as if you are watching the author’s ideas unfold before you; the work that Philip Jackson shares spans more than 60 years, and the book is structured in a way that enables readers to keep pace with how his thinking has developed over this time relatively easily.”