Theses Doctoral

Taking Education Seriously: Dewey and his Interlocutors

Alexander, Natalia Rogach

What would it mean to take philosophy of education seriously, and why should we care about doing so now? This dissertation explores how John Dewey conceived of re-orienting philosophy to address contemporary challenges (such as the failings of democracies, estrangement between individuals and groups, experiences of routine and drudgery) by making education a central philosophical issue. My new reading of Dewey suggests that for him, philosophy of education wasn’t just a minor subfield of philosophy.

To take philosophy of education seriously would mean to re-orient philosophy, placing questions about human development (and about the shape of human experience that emerges under the different arrangements, formal and informal, that educate us) at the center of philosophy. I argue that in his concern about this, Dewey belongs to the tradition of thought in which we might also include Du Bois, Plato and Rousseau, among others. Although recent scholarship contains significant and valuable contributions to our thinking about education, philosophy of education still remains outside what is seen as the “core” of the discipline. I hope to show that engaging carefully with Dewey’s thought can help us appreciate the promise of a subject that is often treated as if it were of secondary importance.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2027-03-26.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Kitcher, Philip
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 30, 2022