It is the main branch of philosophy. It discusses three aspects of reality e.g., the world, the self and the God. Epistemology examines different methods to achieve different types of knowledge.
Axiology is mainly concerned with value. It is a science of value. It concerns itself with problems such as what is value, what is good, what are fundamental values? And so on.
Reality, knowledge and values are very much the concern of education. All problems of education finally get concerned with these.
What knowledge should be imparted to pupils, what values should be learnt by them, exactly is the reality to which education should be made to conform are questions which can be answered in several ways depending upon the kind of philosophy one believes in.
Different views about reality, knowledge values etc., have been expressed by different philosophers. There is no philosophy. There are several schools of philosophy. Within each school there are several philosophers who have contributed to the thoughts on that philosophy. These have influenced the theory and practice of education also.
1. Philosophy of Education. Education is said to be the dynamic side of philosophy. It means philosophy tells what education should be and what it should aim at, but education implements that or practices that.
Education is the purposive influence to be brought upon the pupils. But what kind of influence this ought-to be has to be decided prior to any attempt on making it real. Who should do this? How should it be done? Philosophy of education helps in solving these problems.
2. Different Philosophy of Education.They have described the content and methods of education in different ways. This is so because each one of them makes different assumptions about human nature, knowledge, ethics, morals and values.
For example, idealists consider man a spiritual being, a supreme creation of God who is regarded by them as the source of all knowledge. So they consider values of life absolute and unchanging and recommend that education should make all-out effort on teaching these values.
To the naturalists material world alone is real and so all values exist in nature, in living close to nature. So they recommend that goals of education and methods of education should be determined by the nature of the child.
Like that other philosophies of education also differ in their philosophical views and corresponding aims and methods of education. Thus, philosophy of education means a specific point of view on aspects of education.
Dewey, for that reason, said that “philosophy is the theory of education in its most general phases”. It is philosophy applied to education. There are several aspects of education like the aims, the curriculum, the methods, the discipline, the values to be taught, etc.
Philosophies of education present specific ideas about each of these. Thus, it may be said that they constitute different foundations on which the superstructures called education are raised.
3. Philosophy of education is a critical method of approaching education and its various elements. It is true that there are certain well-defined philosophies of education but apart from these views, underlying them is essentially a spirit or method of approach to education, the philosophical way of thinking and appraising educational matters.
Thus, philosophy of education is a way of looking at various aspects of education. In other words it may be regarded as a general theory of criticism of education. It is a reflective approach to education leading to “wisdom”.
4. Philosophy of education is a rational way to taking decisions in the field of education, a rational process to solving problems. Instead of taking decisions about what to teach, how to teach on ad hoc basis without any rationale underlying them, philosophy of education makes it possible to provide sound and reasonable basis.
5. The main problems of philosophy of education are aims and ideals of education, analysis of pupil’s nature, relations of education and state, analysis of knowledge and curriculum, methods of teaching, place of the school in the society, relationship of education to social system, education of religions, etc.
Critical evaluation of these from philosophical point of view constitutes the subject-matter of philosophy of education Determination of educational values of largely, a function of philosophy of education.