Philosophy of Education Expert, Michael A. Peters Educational Philosophy and Theory: Incorporating ACCESS Education Arena Expert Panel 2014

I completed my PhD on Wittgenstein in 1984. Ever since I have been working through the consequences of his thought for educational theory and practice. Ludwig Wittgenstein is considered by many to be one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. His work in the philosophy of logic, mathematics, mind and language, established him as the founder of two movements: logical empiricism (the Vienna Circle) and Oxford-style ordinary language analysis. The impact of his work has been felt in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and strongly influenced the directions of both analytic and post-analytical philosophy. His work is difficult to read and interpret and there are many competing interpretations of his philosophy.

This brief introduction is designed to introduce students to the man and his work through a set of selective readings that emphasize a broadly cultural approach to his intellectual background, context, and life, as well as the influence his thought has exerted on the disciplines, including education and pedagogy. Read the Full Introduction.

Expert Articles

In the first set of five articles I explore aspects of Wittgenstein’s thought, and its relevance and significance for education. In these articles I dispute the commitment of analytic philosophy of education to a form of conceptual analysis and propose a reading for viewing him closer to the tradition of Continental philosophy and as a thinker deeply influenced by Krauss, Spengler, Nietzsche and Freud who embraces the notion of philosophy as a form of cultural criticism.

I outline a view of subjectivity, knowledge, and representation “after” Wittgenstein, a position that provides a more appropriate platform for philosophy of education in the age of globalization, preserving a link to Wittgenstein and his philosophy while investigating the sources for a notion of education as openness and engagement.

The five articles also investigate post-analytic philosophy of education, its connections with Nietzsche and poststructuralism, before applying some insights to concepts of thinking and reasoning. The last paper investigates Wittgenstein as an exile, and examines the notion of thought based on exile.

Expert Recommended Articles

The second set of papers, in part, provide a commentary on these notions, as well as extending different readings of Wittgenstein in productive and constructive directions: the role of grammar, rule-following, the relation between Wittgenstein and Freud, child-rearing, new paradigms of teaching, and the space of reason.