Philosophy of Education in Spain at the Threshold of the 21st Century – Origins, Political Contexts, and Prospects

Studies in Philosophy and Education 20 (4):361-385 (2001)
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This article analyzes the evolution of Philosophy of Educationin Spain and its situation at the dawn of the 21st century. Spain'speculiar socio-historical circumstances have largely conditioned thedirection this discipline has taken over the last several decades. So,although during a period there was some approximation towards themethods of analytic philosophy, Philosophy of Education has never fullyrelinquished its normative vocation. To do so would have meant spurningthe hopes and fears that had filled Spanish society by the mid 1970supon the reinstatement of civil liberties and democracy. Indeed,attention to the circumstances and that normative orientation have foundtheir best fit in a practical Aristotelian-based philosophy meant toendow Philosophy of Education with a normative character that do notshun the educator's need for reflection, practical decision-making, andresponsibility. Since the 1990s, new directions have been marked by thechallenge of postmodernism, inasmuch as it affects not only thetechnological positivist model but also the reflective educator's modelof a practical Philosophy of Education. The new directions spread out invarious ways, yet they all fall into a common denominator of narrativetrends. The problem posed by these new languages lies in the extent towhich they are consistent with pedagogic intent. In turn, the answerstake on different profiles depending on whether the stance leans moretowards the philosophical or the pedagogical point of view withinPhilosophy of Education. The complementary nature of both perspectivescharacterizes the current state of the field in Spain.



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