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John Peter White
University College London
  1. Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History.John White - 2009 - Philosophy of Education 43 (Supplement s1):123-141.
    Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects, pursued for intrinsic as well as practical ends. Does history (...)
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  2. Illusory Intelligences?John White - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4):611-630.
    Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences has had a huge influence on school education. But its credentials lack justification, as the first section of this paper shows via a detailed philosophical analysis of how the intelligences are identified. If we want to make sense of the theory, we need to turn from a philosophical to a historical perspective. This is provided in the second section, which explores how the theory came to take shape in the course of Gardner's intellectual development. (...)
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  3. Education and a Meaningful Life.John White - 2009 - Oxford Review of Education 35 (4):423-435.
    Everyone will agree that education ought to prepare young people to lead a meaningful life, but there are different ways in which this notion can be understood. A religious interpretation has to be distinguished from the secular one on which this paper focuses. Meaningfulness in this non-religious sense is a necessary condition of a life of well-being, having to do with the nesting of one’s reasons for action within increasingly pervasive structures of activity and attachment. Sometimes a life can seem (...)
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  4. Wellbeing and Education: Issues of Culture and Authority.John White - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 41 (1):17–28.
    The idea that education should equip people to lead flourishing lives and help others to do so is now becoming salient in policy-making circles. Philosophy of education can help here by clarifying what flourishing consists in. This essay examines one aspect of this. It rejects the view that well-being goods are derivable from human nature, as in the theories of Howard Gardner and Edmond Holmes. It locates them, rather, as cultural products, but not culturally-relative ones, drawing attention to the proliferating (...)
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  5. What Schools Are for and Why.John White - 2007 - Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain IMPACT pamphlet No 14.
    In England and Wales we have had a National Curriculum since 1988. How can it have survived so long without aims to guide it? This IMPACT pamphlet argues that curriculum planning should begin not with a boxed set of academic subjects of a familiar sort, but with wider considerations of what schools should be for. We first work out a defensible set of wider aims backed by a well-argued rationale. From these we develop sub-aims constituting an aims-based curriculum. Further detail (...)
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  6. Elusive Rivalry? Conceptions of the Philosophy of Education.John White - 2010 - Ethics and Education 5 (2):135-145.
    What is analytical philosophy of education (APE)? And what has been its place in the history of the subject over the last fifty years? In a recent essay in Ethics and Education (Vol 2, No 2 October 2007) on ‘Rival conceptions of the philosophy of education’, Paul Standish described a number of features of APE. Relying on both historical and philosophical argument, the present paper critically assesses these eight points, as well as another five points delineating APE in the Introduction (...)
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  7. What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?John White - 2011 - Think (28):9-16.
    A brief account of educational aims, focussing on preparation for a life of autonomous well-being.
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