My Philosophy of Education

An Assignment
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
EDTE354-01: Philosophy of Education

INSTRUCTOR: Janine McEwen-Simmons


Sheneis Melville

24 November 2018

Table of Contents
Introduction 3

Body 4-6

Conclusion 7

References 8

Neo-Scholasticism is a traditional philosophy that is the revival and development of medieval scholasticism in the Roman Catholic theology and philosophy, which started in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is the modernized form of scholasticism in which focuses mainly on human reasoning. Scholasticism is the logical movement that has reconciled the beliefs of Christianity with plausible philosophical doctrines. Instead of determining the truth, it gives emphasis to proving the existing truth. The advocates of Neo-Scholasticism were both Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle. This movement was established in Western Europe between 1050 -1350 owing to Aristotle’s teachings in Christianity, according to (Knight, 2006.) On the other hand, these new teachings were not always what was conventional with the Christian thought. Scholastics wanted to organize the Christianity revelation thoroughly by the use of Aristotelian deductive reasoning and also, to correspond to the ideas of revelation with the philosophy of Aristotle. Thomas Aquinas applied Aristotle’s teachings to Christianity. This particular approach was that an individual should attain as much information as possible by the use of human rationality. After that they can have faith in the supernatural realm which goes beyond the scope of human understanding.
Idealism and Realism are two other traditional philosophies of education. Idealism is an emphasis on the reality of ideas, thoughts, minds, or selves, rather than a stress on material objects and forces (Knight, 2006.) The advocate of idealism is Plato. Realism utilizes the inductive method in investigating the natural world and arriving at general principles from observations (Knight, 2006.) This means that a realist relies on observational facts. The individual that came up with this philosophy called realism was Aristotle. Another modern is pragmatism. According to Knight (2006), Pragmatism is the attitude of looking away from first things, principles, categories, supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts.
In the philosophic position of Neo-Scholasticism, there are philosophic determinants, which are the metaphysical, epistemological and axiological beliefs. According to the metaphysical belief of Neo-Scholasticism, reality is made up of reason and God. It is also described as a two-sided coin, in which one side is considered as the natural world that is open to reason, while the other side is the supernatural realm, which is understood through intuition, revelation, and faith. The epistemological belief holds the idea that truth can only be known through rationalism and inspiration. The rational human mind has a natural ability to orient toward the rationality of the universe and can also intuit truth. The intuitive form of truth, in which people rely on first principles and faith, do not depend on experience, as the truth is self-evident (intuited as true). The other form of truth, in which people rely on reason, can be tested, as it depends on science and empirical experience. The axiological belief of Neo-Scholastics claims that values are related to rationality. Ethics of Neo-Scholastics states that the good act is controlled by rationality. As rational beings, if people know what is right, then they will do it because it is reasonable to do good. Good people place their wills and emotions under the authority of their intellects.
Within the educational system of Neo-Scholasticism, the students are seen as rational beings, who has the potential to acquire truth and knowledge naturally. They are also considered to be spiritual being, who can rely on God through faith. The teachers are the mental disciplinarians, who have the ability to develop the learner’s reason, memory, and will power. Furthermore, the teachers decide what knowledge the student should learn, and are also spiritual leaders, who incorporate faith within the student’s learning. The curriculum emphasizes upon subjects that focus on the rational and spiritual aspects of students. The subject matters may include those with internal logic such as Mathematics, and those that strengthen the mind such as foreign languages (Greek and Latin). In addition, the teaching methodology of neo-scholastics strengthens the intellectual powers of the students through exercises in reason and memory in relation to the discipline inherent in the subject matter. Neo-Scholasticism has a conservative social function, as it passes on knowledge of the past.
Another traditional philosophy, called realism, is also similar to that of Neo-Scholasticism. Both philosophies focus on a conservative social function of the school, as they are concerned with the passing on of the proven facts and knowledge of the past. Although realism and Neo-Scholasticism may have similar functions, these philosophies also have a great difference between them. The epistemology of realism claims that truth comes from observation and is viewed as an observable fact. Knowledge and truth is gained through the sense perception of a person. However, the epistemology of Neo-Scholasticism holds that truth is only found through rationalism and inspiration from God. The rational human mind has a natural ability to orient toward the rationality of the universe and can also intuit truth through faith in God. Another difference between these philosophies lies within the axiological belief, in which the realist believes that values are obtained by the observation of nature, while the neo-scholastic believes that values are related to rationality. The ethical basis of realism is known through the laws of nature and these laws are moral, so therefore humanity should follow them to know what is right. However, ethical belief of Neo-Scholasticism holds that the good act (or morality) is controlled by rationality, as it is reasonable to do good. Good people place their wills and emotions under the authority of their intellects.
Idealism is also a traditional philosophy, which is quite similar to that of Neo-Scholasticism. Like Neo-Scholasticism, idealism of various strains rely heavily upon intuition, revelation and rationalism in gaining and extending knowledge. The idealist nature of the student focuses on the intellectual aspects of the learner and seeks to develop these aspects. It is at the level of mind that the educational endeavor must be primarily aimed, since true knowledge can be gained only through the mind. The neo-scholastic nature of the student is similar to that of the idealist, as it cultivates and develops the intellectual or rational aspects of the students, as it trains the mind to think and education is focused on strengthening the intellectual powers of the learner. Like Neo-Scholasticism, the social function of the school, for the idealist, is to preserve the heritage and to pass on the knowledge of the past.
Besides traditional philosophies, there are also modern philosophies like pragmatism, which are completely different to the traditional philosophy of Neo-Scholasticism. One major difference between pragmatism and Neo-Scholasticism is that the traditional metaphysics of Neo-Scholasticism has been concerned with an “ultimate” and “absolute” realm of reality beyond the grasp of human empirical experience. On the other hand, pragmatism claims that if there is such an order of reality, people have no way of knowing about it. From the pragmatic perspective, the metaphysical world allows for no absolutes, no a priori principles, or unchangeable natural laws. Instead, reality is a transactional experience, which is continually undergoing change. Unlike social function of Neoscholasticism, which conserves and passes on knowledge of the past, the social function of the pragmatic school is to teach the younger generation to manage change in a healthy manner, as social change is inevitable. Pragmatism is also similar to Neo-Scholasticism within the curriculum emphasis, as the traditional subjects such as mathematics are also woven into the curriculum of the pragmatic school, so that the students can learn the traditional materials as they work on problems and issues that are of current interest to them in their daily experience.
Based on the information gathered for this research, it can be concluded that the traditional philosophy of Neo-Scholasticism is mainly concerned with the secular branch of human rationalism and the religious branch of the Christian revelation of God. This philosophical viewpoint was formed by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. It also held the basic approach of obtaining knowledge by the use of human reasoning and then depending upon faith for the realm that is beyond human understanding. The metaphysics of neo-scholastics involved a reality made up of rationalism and spirituality. Also, neo-scholastics held the epistemological view that truth was obtained by rationalism and inspiration from God. All the values of neo-scholastics are related to rationalism. In addition, both rationalism and spirituality were incorporated within every aspect of the educational context of Neo-Scholasticism. The school also believed in the conservation and passing on of the knowledge of the past. Other traditional philosophies such as idealism and realism were similar to Neo-Scholasticism in the function of the school, as they also passed on knowledge of the past. However, modern philosophies like pragmatism, also existed, in which knowledge was constantly changing and the school believed that students should be taught to adapt to social change in a healthy manner.