Topic Detail
Philosophy and Education: Similarities and Differences

Nature of Philosophy:

The term philosophy has been derived from two Greek words “Sophia” meaning “wisdom” or “knowledge” and “Philein” meaning “to love” or “search”. Hence, philosophy originally means love of wisdom or search for wisdom or love of knowledge. Wisdom means logically thinking approach (Rationale, objective, tolerant and open minded).  Wisdom is more than knowledge. It purposes knowledge but goes beyond surface knowledge to find relationship and to discover implications. There is discernment and depth in wisdom.

            Speculation is usually an essential part of philosophy, particularly in that branch known as metaphysics, but it is rigorously disciplined speculation, not that resulting from armchair dreaming.    

“Love of wisdom” is not a bad interpretation of its present meaning, if the word wisdom is rightly understood and if one is convinced that the only lovers of wisdom are those who continuously seek it.

Philosophy is an attempt to understand all that comes within range of human experience. It is a “search for a comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of the nature of things”.          


Definitions of Philosophy:

Philosophy is an attempt to give a reasoned conception of the whole universe and of man’s place in it. (W.P. Montague)

Philosophy includes a world-view of the whole cosmos and life-view of values, meanings and purposes of human life. (J.A. Leighton)

            Philosophy is an endeavor to achieve a comprehensive view of life and its meaning, upon the basis of the result of various sciences.


Definitions of Education:

Plato: Education has to develop four cardinal virtues wisdom, courage, and self-control ad justice.

Aristotle: It is a process necessary for the creation of sound mind in a sound body.

Bertrand Russell: Education is a gateway to wisdom.

Dewy: It is a process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control life environment and fulfill all his possibilities.


What is Philosophy?

It is a search to understand the self, external world and the creator. It analyses and discusses the ideas of mind, matter, reality, soul, freedom, justice etc.


What is Education?

It is a teaching learning process which aims at an all-round development of human personality, enabling him to gain knowledge learn skills for earning a living and improve his/her moral character.


Similarities between Philosophy and Education

Philosophy and Education are Interdependent  

A country first of all develops a philosophy of life and later plans a scheme of education accordingly. When there is a change in the philosophy of nation, it brings a change in education. In Greece the philosophy of education was state centered. Hence military training and strict discipline was a part of curriculum, later the philosophy changed and it became individual centered (child’s interest and aptitude was considered important), hence the curriculum turned out to be activity based and more freedom was given to the child.


Philosophy determines aim, Education puts them into practice

Philosophy determines aims and objectives for education which are put into practice through teaching-learning process. The philosophers find their theories being realized through education. Plato talked about four cardinal virtues to be achieved viz. wisdom, courage, self-control and justice. These provide a guide line t educationist for elaborating its objectives as moral, social, intellectual, religious, physical, vocational, cultural and recreational.


Both impart knowledge

A very vast knowledge about every aspect of life is provided by philosophy. It provides knowledge about universe, the nature of God, and purposes of life. Education imparts knowledge in different disciplines viz: Medicines, law, engineering, social sciences, pure sciences, literature, teaching, accountancy etc.


Both deals with Morality

Both are interested in the moral code for man. Philosophy emphasis that man should do what is right and good must differentiate between right and wrong and fallow the right path. Education also emphasizes character building as the chief objective. Man should learn to be kind, polite, respectful, honest and true.


Philosophy is a guide for the teacher

Philosophy informs the teacher to provide true and correct knowledge to the learners. All knowledge should be objective and based on reasoning.


  Differences between Philosophy and Education

Both differ in scope

Scope of philosophy includes the study of metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and logic. It also presents theories of education like idealism, realism and pragmatism.

Education is chiefly concerned with aims, curriculum, methods of teaching, administration, examination and discipline.


Both differ in methods

Methods of philosophy are speculation / reflective thinking, analysis and synthesis, comparison and contrast (logic: induction and deduction).

Methods of education are lecture, discussion, questioning, narrative, experimentation, activity etc.


Both differ in functions

            Philosophy searches for ultimate realities of mind, matter, soul, good, evil, justice, freedom etc.

Education develops individual potentialities and personalities for the values.


One is theoretical, the other is practical

Philosophy is a set of ideas and present theories; education is to produce better human beings through practicing the ideas and theories.



Philosophy literally means thinking an idiomatically it is the pursuit of wisdom the study of realities and general principles. It is concerned with a search for eternal truth. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher spent their lives in the search of this eternal truth. Anyone who searches into the reasons and nature of things, who attempts to reach at a certain general principles and applies these principles to his daily life-conduct is consciously or unconsciously behaving like a philosopher. It is often said that every one of us develops a philosophy for his own reason and abilities. Similarly any teacher has a philosophy of education, whether he is aware of it or not. However, contrary to a common man a philosopher gives thinking much greater scope and their thinking is much more rigorous one and their thinking is more logically than a common man.


Scope of Philosophy

The scope of philosophy is ultimate. It answers many complicated and important questions such as: What is life?, what is man?, what are the aims of life?

It is not only related to the vital problems of life but it also seek to synthesize all knowledge under some basic principles. These principles are applied and practiced by them in their lives.

Jhon Dewy says “philosophy signifies wisdom influencing the conduct of life”.



            Philosophy is the critical analysis of concepts and the discovery of relations between them. It thus hope to integrate our knowledge, to unify and interpret it.


 Educational Philosophy or Philosophy of Education  

  Educational philosophy is a branch of general philosophy. Education to a large extent is dependent upon educational philosophy. Philosophy forms the aims and objectives of education which in turn influences the practice, the subjects of study and the methods of teaching. A country first of all should evolve a philosophy of education in confirmatory with its ideology and natural character. According to Jhon Dewy philosophy signifies wisdom influing the conduct of man and education is the development of potentialities and aim of education is social efficiency.



  Contrary to philosophy, education is defined by each thinker according to his own observations and experiences of life. Education has been derived from Latin words “Educare, Educaaturm or Educere”. Educare and Educatum means to train to bring up and to nourish while “Educare” means to lead out i.e. to lead out the inner potentialities of an individual.

The former two impels that education is something external to be imposed or put in from outside the latter indicates growth from within.

Common in all definitions is “to train” and training results in the acquisition of knowledge + skill. Education is a process which continues throughout our life from “cradle to grave”. It is not static and it will never come to an end.

Education is defined as the process through which the inner potentialities of the individual are developed harmoniously or through which all-round development of personality is achieved.