Pragmatism in Educational Philosophy

Pragmatism in Educational Philosophy

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

Pragmatism, which forms the basis of American philosophy and political thought, opposed traditional radical views and tried to synthesize them by acting as a bridge between conflicting ideas.

Pragmatism, which takes into account the change depending on evolutionism, aims for continuous improvement, accepts the a posteriori form of knowledge and prioritizes positive values, is a liberal philosophical thought that is against all kinds of rigid rule and absolutism and emphasizes science, democracy, individual rights and freedoms, and pluralistic participation. .

The doctrine of natural law, which is based on the thesis that all people are born equal and free, and which is at the core of liberalism, and property, worship etc. Based on the doctrine of natural rights, which includes inalienable and inalienable individual rights, pragmatist philosophers treat freedom as a right that is held above all else when it is seized.


Freedom of people living together is a problem of internal structure of culture. Freedom takes on a meaning and shape according to the existing culture. In other words, freedom can be interpreted according to existing cultural elements, depending on what is understood from it.

The point that should be emphasized here with sensitivity is whether there is a simple understanding of freedom, a negative freedom. The freedom that pragmatism emphasizes is the existence of freedom as non-domination, of a negative freedom.

In America, where pragmatism is dominant as a liberal thought, although there are different approaches to freedom and democracy, these ideas are so rooted and powerful that they have almost turned into a form of belief.

While John Dewey criticized traditional philosophy, he also included traditional liberalism in it. According to Dewey, liberalism is in a crisis, corrupted by dogmatism and various traditional ideas, stuck in a narrow framework and as a tool used by the dominant minority to deceive the people. has turned into In this narrow framework, the individual is pushed into the background, and rights and freedoms exist by name under domination.

John Dewey is an important representative of pragmatism.

Dewey went the way of restructuring liberalism with reformist ideas, went into more detail in a wider framework, established a relationship between intelligence and freedom by prioritizing the individual, and defended cultural liberalism in terms of freedom being shaped according to culture.

According to him, liberalism should renew itself by making reforms in basic areas that regulate social life such as law, politics, economy and culture, depending on changing conditions, and should establish institutions that will develop freedom by taking the individual into account. At the forefront of these institutions is education.

Pragmatism in Educational Philosophy

Education is a tool to realize freedom by living it in itself. In other words, education should be in a free environment and thus ensure the freedom of the individual.

Education should be far from all kinds of totalitarian and monotonous ideologies as a tool that will enable both individuals and society to realize themselves. Otherwise, it cannot fulfill its function, it remains only as an instrument of a certain ideology.

The views and institutions of societies that do not comply with democracy and democratic principles, which include freedoms, constitute an obstacle to reaching education, which is a tool that will ensure and maintain freedom, and therefore democracy.

According to pragmatism, education, as the basic dynamic of progress, has a fundamental duty for democracy as it is a tool that provides democratic problem solving. In this context, democracy should stand by education in order to maintain its existence, development and progress in a healthy way, with all its social institutions as the basic balance element surrounding the society.

All institutions of the society should have equal power and these institutions should act in coordination with education, which is itself a social institution, in order to realize the integrity and goals of the society.

If a social institution has more power than others, it will disrupt the balance of power and dominate them and give direction to them according to their own wishes. This prevents education from fulfilling its function fully in that society. Thus, democracy is damaged and society may lose its freedom.

The goal in democracy is the individual’s knowledge, enlightenment and self-realization from the past to the future, his position, competences, rights. This is only possible with education, which is an indispensable tool of democracy as a most basic human right. In that case, the democratic state is obliged to educate its citizens in a way that they can observe their natural rights and realize their individual and social freedoms.

In democratic education, schools should have a structure based on the principle of equality of opportunity and opportunity, without any discrimination among individuals of different ethnic origins, religions and economic income levels. The elimination of these differences and the real freedom