What is Philosophy of Education?

There are branches of applied philosophy, including the philosophy of education, used as a guide in the philosophical foundation of education. This article describes the definition of the philosophy of education, its characteristics, and its relationship to the branch of general philosophy.


Philosophy of education is an applied branch of philosophy that examines education's nature, including goals and issues or philosophical problems arising from educational theory and practice [2].

The characteristics of the philosophy of education align with the characteristics of general philosophy, i.e., normative or prescriptive and individualistic-unique [3][4]. 

Normative or prescriptive means that philosophy is a guide in finding or doing what is ideal, i.e., what is aspired or what should be [3]. The philosophy of education is expected to guide educators, policymakers on education, and other education observers so that the implementation of education gets optimal results [1].

Therefore, the philosophy of education has become one of several educational foundations. Philosophy of education can guide the formulation of educational theory and practice.

While individualistic-unique means that the process or result of philosophizing of philosophers differs from one philosopher to another, there is nothing right or wrong. This relates to the beliefs of each philosopher on certain things.


There are four branches of general philosophy in general philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic. However, logic tends to refer to the study of ways to answer philosophical questions.

Because the philosophy of education is derived from a general philosophy, metaphysics (the nature of reality, especially the nature of humans as actors in the educational process), epistemology (the nature of knowledge), and axiology (the nature of values) are considered in formulating the concept of education.

The implication is that every school of educational philosophy must have these three components. In the concept of education, the essence of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology is formulated into educational goals, educational curriculum, educational methods, and the role of educators and students [3][4].

Metaphysics and Education

In metaphysics, there is a discussion about human nature, including the characteristics and the essential need of human beings. The concept of education affects the formulation of various components of education, including the goals of education, education curriculum, educational method, and even the role of educators and students.

For example, "What is the ideal educational goal that students should achieve?", "What is the nature of educators?", "Whether the knowledge and skills given to students are universal?

Epistemology and Education

In addition to metaphysics, there is also a link between epistemology and education. Epistemology studies knowledge, including its references and methodology to acquire it. 

The implication of the study of the philosophy of education will be to consider how to achieve educational goals, what knowledge and skills are needed to achieve educational goals, and how to develop knowledge and these skills.

For example, "What skills do students need in the 21st Century?", "How to develop digital literacy skills?" and "How do educators get the latest information about educational issues?"

Axiology and Education

Concerning axiology or the nature of values, there are ethics and aesthetics. Ethics focuses on right or wrong and how humans can live with others. At the same time, aesthetics consider the value of beauty.

In the philosophy of education, there is an analysis of character values that should be instilled in students, actions of educators on student behavior, and the creativity of educators in formulating learning.

For example, "If there are students who are late for assignments' submission, should the assignment still be accepted or not?". Furthermore, "Is grouping students according to their abilities the right action, or is it contrary to the concept of inclusion?" and "How to make learning interesting for students?"


At least four factors form the basis for determining an educator's educational philosophy, namely beliefs about teaching and learning, beliefs about students, beliefs about knowledge, and beliefs about what needs to be known [1].

Beliefs about Teaching and Learning

The educator's belief in teaching and learning refers to the educator's view of how ideal teaching and learning are for students.

Such as the following questions: "Are teaching and learning a science or an art or even both?" and "Are experience and learning an individual process or influenced by the environment?"

Beliefs about Students

The pedagogical relationship between educators and students is an essential factor in education. Therefore, educators' confidence in their students is essential. This refers to how a teacher views the personality, characteristics, skills, and other attributes of students.

For example, "When a student is not able to follow the lesson well, does the teacher think that the student is lazy or maybe there are other factors that hinder him?" and "Are the students impolite or just too straightforward when speaking?"

This belief generally arises from the observations of educators on students. It may also be due to in-depth discussions held by educators and students. In essence, educators are expected to have positive beliefs about their students.  

Beliefs in Knowledge

This belief is related to the educator's view of knowledge, which directly affects how educators teach.

For example, "Do educators think that knowledge is a collection of small pieces of separate subjects or facts?" This may affect the duration of students learning of all the information [1].

However, there may also be educators who think that knowledge is not a separate fact; it is a unity that is interrelated between one piece of information and another.

Beliefs about What to Know

If beliefs about knowledge are related to students' personal views on the essence of knowledge, beliefs about what they need to know are related to students' views of knowledge that students need to have.

For example, "Do educators consider it more important for students to use 'quick formulas' in mathematics than to understand the basic concepts thoroughly?"

Another example is that some educators think that students must know that it is directly related to the lives of students at that time.

These four factors will affect the educational philosophy believed by students. They will also affect the behavior of educators when teaching, such as how the attitude of educators towards students, the learning methods used, the knowledge given to students, and the values instilled.


Philosophy of Education is an applied philosophy that focuses on educational issues or phenomena. The implication of general philosophy on the philosophy of education is that the study of the philosophy of education at least includes educational objectives, curriculum or educational content, and educational methods, as well as educators and students. Educators' beliefs influence the philosophy of educators about various factors, which will affect how educators carry out education and teaching.


[1] Sadulloh, U. (2017). Pengantar Filsafat Pendidikan. Bandung: Alfabeta.

[2] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Philosophy of Education. Tersedia: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/education-philosophy/  

[3] Syaripudin, T. & Kurniasih. (2017). Landasan Filsafat Pendidikan. Bab 5 Buku Landasan Pendidikan. Bandung: UPI Press.

[4] Syaripudin, T. & Kurniasih. (2015). Pengantar Filsafat Pendidikan. Bandung: Percikan Ilmu.

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