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Theories of Philosophy

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Rebecca Janssen

on 16 July 2015

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Transcript of Theories of Philosophy

Theories of Philosophy
Existentialism
“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

The philosophical theory of existentialism asserts that reality is subjective and comes from within the individual. One defines himself by the choices he makes. Existentialists put emphasis on freedom to choose for oneself and to take responsibility for those choices. The American existentialist focuses on human potential and the search for personal meaning.
From an educational standpoint, the existential teacher will focus on the child and on creating opportunities for the student to internalize learning and make it their own. This is completely opposite of the current learning structures in place.
Idealism
The energy of the mind is the essence of life.
~Aristotle

Idealism is a philosophy based on the tenet that the only true reality is the ideas one has. Rene Descartes claims that all we really know is in our consciousness and that the external world exists only in our minds. Plato however asserted that there are two worlds--the spiritual world in agreement with Descartes and the world of appearances which is explored through our senses.
In the realm of education, the curriculum includes literature, history, religion and philosophy with the end goal of developing the individual's abilities and moral excellence in order to serve society well.
Pragmatism
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
~John Dewey

As a pragmatist, one believes that things observed and experienced are real. Pragmatists believe that reality is constantly shifting, so one's learning must come through the application of our experience and thoughts to problems. Charles Sanders Peirce claimed thought must produce some type of action and not remain in our mind to lead to indecision
The pragmatist will teach using interdisciplinary curriculum, involve cooperative, hands on learning, and encourage students to apply their experiences to problem solving. The goal is for the student to function well in his daily life, career and as a contributing citizen.
Realism
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn't go away. ~Phillip K. Dick


The theory of realism holds the belief that reality exists independently from the human mind. In other words, physical objects are real and not just ideas. Aristotle felt that to understand an object it had to be observed.
In a realist's classroom emphasis would be on science and math. Mastery of skills in these areas is paramount. The teacher will present material systematically. Critical and scientific thinking is important, so questioning and inquiry to understand is encouraged. The student's character is developed by training in the rules of conduct.
Janssenism
Life is so unlike theory. ~Anthony Trollope
When taking the Ross Barger inventory, I found myself agreeing with only a small number of statements. I believe there is so much gray area in life that hard and fast truths are rare. My highest score reveals that I am more in alignment with the pragmatist theory of philosophy. Since the word origin has to do with "matter of fact", this is the closest to any of these theories to which I see myself adhering. I also relate to existentialism. I do believe that we often have the freedom to chose and that we need to be responsible for these choices. However, does one with mental illness really always get to make his own choice? The theory I find the farthest from my philosophy is idealism. It was interesting to learn that being an idealist doesn't mean you follow the philosophy of idealism. I think this is a common misconception. The theory of Janssenism espouses being socially conscious and acting on that awareness to better society, being tolerant and loving of all people, and to be the best you can be each and every day.
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