Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education

Stanley Cavell’s concept of ordinary language philosophy has a significant impact on education and democracy. Essentially, ordinary language philosophy refers to an emerging school of thought in the philosophy that views language as an important tool in disseminating knowledge (Saito, 2006). According to this perspective, most philosophical problems emanate from difficulties in comprehending certain words used in describing reality. Therefore, ordinary language philosophy focuses on eschewing traditional theories of philosophy in order to promote ordinary words that are used in normal ‘everyday’ language (Saito, 2006). This perspective is also referred to as Oxford Philosophy and is closely related to logical positivism. Among the most prominent scholars of this philosophical view include John Searle and Stanley Cavell.

According to Saito (2007), the idea presented by Dewey on ‘mutual national understanding’ is vague in the contemporary world mainly characterized by globalization. As such, the concept is ineffective in facilitating education and democracy today; in an era of global citizenship. In such a case, the concept of Philosophy as translation introduced by Stanley Cavell comes in handy in facilitating education and democracy in a globalized environment. Education ought to be cross-cultural in terms of enabling individuals to interact and intermingle with others around them (Saito, 2007). As such, Cavellian education is very suitable for global citizenship since it empowers people to interact with others from different communities and backgrounds around the world. In addition, democracy must be rooted in understanding one’s culture in order to relate well with other people from different cultures. Therefore, according to Stanley Cavell, ordinary language philosophy is effective in promoting good relations amidst developments in globalization (Saito, 2007).

Based on John Dewey’s quote that ‘democracy must begin at home’ the concept of ordinary language philosophy postulates that one must be able to understand his or her culture before going out to interact with other cultures. For example, as an America, it is crucial that one understands the culture of Americans before moving out to relate with citizens from other places. As such, democracy will begin from home in the sense that one will first be freed to think internationally-based on his or her national or cultural background.

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Saito, N. (2006). Philosophy as Education and Education as Philosophy: Democracy and Education from Dewey to Cavell. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 40(3), 345-356.

Saito, N. (2007). Philosophy as translation: democracy and education from Dewey to Cavell. Educational Theory, 57(3), 261-275.

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