What does philosophy have to do with education? The answer depends on how we understand philosophy. To know, to love, and to heal: these are, according to Raimundo Panikkar, the task of philosophy. I embrace his view.
I teach in an Education field called Philosophy of Education. I teach in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and currently I coordinate a doctoral program in Philosophy of Education in my Faculty at Simon Fraser University. If we subscribe to Panikkar’s understanding, then philosophy has everything to do with education, and is in fact what education is all about.
But is education today really all about knowing, loving, and healing? Here, again, we run into the difficulties of our time. The business of knowing in schools today is certainly not what Panikkar and others schooled in wisdom have in mind: cultivation of wide awareness and deep understanding that fathom both the light and darkness of human mind-heart and the karma of human action so that the result is life lived in harmony, peace, truth, and beauty. Such cultivation leads one to the way of wisdom and helps one to live wisely. The business of knowing in schools at all levels, from kindergarten to university, is mostly about information accumulation that has little to do with wisdom, love, and healing. As a matter of fact, the conventional view of knowledge is such that education, whose business mainly it is to makes us “smart,” is seen as having very little to do with loving and healing. Is it any wonder then that everywhere there is so much broken-heartedness, broken spirit, broken lives, broken homes, broken communities, and a seriously damaged environment? Education that does not address these brokennesses and does not heal is not, in my view, a true and good education, no matter how much scientific progress, economic progress, and technological innovation it helps us to achieve.
As an educator educating other educators, I am committed to installing philosophy—in the sense of cultivation of wisdom—in education so that it can guide what we are doing in the name of education. This blog site is about my work as an educational philosopher who is trying to bring wisdom as the comprehensive aim of education.