These features make the phenomena and problems of education of great interest to a wide range of socially-concerned intellectuals, who bring with them their own favored conceptual frameworks—concepts, theories and ideologies, methods of analysis and argumentation, metaphysical and other assumptions, and the like.
It is not surprising that scholars who work in this broad genre also find a home in the field of philosophy of education.
This view, that education centrally involves the fostering of reason or rationality, has with varying articulations and qualifications been embraced by most of those historical figures; it continues to be defended by contemporary philosophers of education as well (Scheffler 1973 ; Siegel 1988, 1997, 2007, 2017).
As with any philosophical thesis it is controversial; some dimensions of the controversy are explored below.
It is…this union of scientific spirit and logical method applied toward the clarification of basic ideas that characterizes current analytic philosophy [and that ought to characterize analytic philosophy of education].
(Scheffler 1973 [1989: 9–10]) After a period of dominance, for a number of important reasons the influence of APE went into decline.
Elsewhere Peters developed the fruitful notion of “education as initiation”.
The concept of indoctrination was also of great interest to analytic philosophers of education, for, it was argued, getting clear about precisely what constitutes indoctrination also would serve to clarify the border that demarcates it from acceptable educational processes.
Many of the most distinguished figures in that tradition incorporated educational concerns into their broader philosophical agendas (Curren 2000, 2018; Rorty 1998).
While that history is not the focus here, it is worth noting that the ideals of reasoned inquiry championed by Socrates and his descendants have long informed the view that education should foster in all students, to the extent possible, the disposition to seek reasons and the ability to evaluate them cogently, and to be guided by their evaluations in matters of belief, action and judgment.