Pleasures and Pains: the right education

Excellent post on philosophical approaches to education over at Retrievals. Enjoy!


Were a philosopher to suddenly jump out from behind a bush and ask you, “What is education?” my guess is that you, like me, would answer something like “imparting knowledge.” Now the philosopher (who, incidentally, is likely to look like a hobo) might quibble with you about that definition, but I don’t think that it is so bad. We all know what it feels like to learn. It is a feeling of growth, of something “being there” in your mind that was not there before. The good teacher can somehow bring that about; he seems to be able to pour knowledge into you, much as you would pour wine into a glass.

Plato quite famously disagrees with this common understanding of education. In the famous Allegory of the Cave in the Republic, Plato instead suggests that the power of learning is already present in every human being’s soul, so…

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