Throughout most of the history of Western civilisation, Christianity and classical ideals played a dominant part in education. In most western countries, however, this is no longer the case. In modern pluralist democracies, church influence struggles with pervasive influences from elsewhere for the hearts and minds of the public. Educational policy remains, however, an instrument to be used by major power groups, and in many countries has become, to a greater or lesser extent, an active or unwitting accomplice in furthering acquisitiveness and the accumulation of material advantage. This dominant conception of education as a subordinate instrument, rather than a sovereign enterprise, is not a new one, as Hogan demonstrates in his examination of the evolution of educational philosophy.
The book has three main divisions: Part One considers the eclipse of the Socratic tradition of learning by the central doctrines of Platonism in the Western heritage, reflects on the shortcomings of the Enlightenment and concentrates on landmarks of particular significance in a review of Western educational traditions; Part Two examines the reclamation and elucidation of what the custodial heritage in education eclipsed; Part Three considers the further elaboration and practical defence of an educational orientation which is not only rich in possibilities for teachers and learners but also for educational policy-making in our own day.
About the Author
Dr Pádraig Hogan is a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. His research interests are primarily revolved around education and the schooling environment. Some of his other books include The Future of Religion in Irish Education (1997), Education and Practice: Upholding the Integrity of Teaching and Learning, and Towards a Better Future: A Review of the Irish School System (2017).