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Full-Text Articles in Intellectual History

Augustine: Learning In Community, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2017

Augustine: Learning In Community, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

If all Western philosophy is a footnote to Plato as some have claimed, it might also be legitimate to suppose that all Christian philosophy of education is a footnote to Augustine.  After all, Augustine was the first to offer a systematic synthesis of ancient philosophy with biblical truth, and as Aristotle’s realism was a response to Plato’s idealism, Thomas Aquinas’ scholasticism was similarly a response to Augustine’s Christian liberal arts.  Though it has been nearly two millennia since this North African monk and bishop wrote and established his order of learning communities, Augustine’s writings and his ...


Thomas Aquinas: Theory Of Knowledge And Learning, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2017

Thomas Aquinas: Theory Of Knowledge And Learning, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

Though Thomas Aquinas’ theory of knowledge experienced a resurgence in Neo-Scholasticism—especially in traditional Catholic and in Protestant classical schools—its educational influence is currently minimal, limited to isolated pockets of educational traditionalism.  Why is this so?  An answer may be considered by examining the following: the historical context of Aquinas and of Scholasticism, Aquinas’ epistemological arguments related to the nature and acquisition of truth, the interplay of faith and reason in Aquinas’ theological arguments, and an assessment of Aquinas in light of current perspectives.  Such exploration will show that, while the ideas of Aquinas continue to be granted token ...


Søren Kierkegaard's Existentialism In Education: A Context Of Choice And Authentic Relationship, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2017

Søren Kierkegaard's Existentialism In Education: A Context Of Choice And Authentic Relationship, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

Though known primarily as a Christian theologian, philosopher, and apologist, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) has also greatly influenced the field of education through his existential notions of subjective knowledge, student choice, and an emphasis on the individual as thinker and believer.  At first, educators may find it a challenge to understand the complexities of his writings, but once they take the “leap,” they may discover that his approach to learning serves to inspire their practice.  They may not be familiar with his name, but educators will recognize Kierkegaard’s ideas as having influenced educational theory and practice throughout the past century ...


Jonathan Edwards: Educational Philosophy And Practice, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2017

Jonathan Edwards: Educational Philosophy And Practice, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

Most narratives on Jonathan Edwards describe his life experiences, family, education, conversion, ministry, and missions work with the Indians.  They identify him as an intellectual, theologian, and scientist.  Some accounts note his significance as an apologist, especially as he argued against Enlightenment thought, deism, and Unitarianism.  Primarily, he is presented as the famed Great Awakening preacher.  There is yet, however, another prominent role Edwards has played, and that is in the field of educational philosophy.  Though usually granted only token attention in typical foundations of education textbooks, Edwards’ theory of knowledge and of learning is deserving of much deeper study ...


The Protestant Reformation: Educational Ideas And Approaches Cultivated By Luther And Other Reformers, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2016

The Protestant Reformation: Educational Ideas And Approaches Cultivated By Luther And Other Reformers, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

College students preparing to teach in elementary and secondary schools may be surprised to find that Martin Luther and John Calvin are often topics in their teacher education curriculum, especially in their Foundations of Education courses.  Although the attention given to these transformational leaders may only be cursory, their ideas are cited as having impacted the development of literacy and common schools in the West, especially in colonial New England.  To increase appreciation of the Protestant Reformation’s impact on the field of education, however, teacher candidates should be provided a more thorough examination of various reformers, their thoughts on ...


Common School Movement, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2014

Common School Movement, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” This quote by Horace Mann has challenged many to take on a cause and to see it through. Horace Mann’s cause was the common school movement. Many claim that, were it not for Mann’s skillful politicking and persuasive arguments, there would be no free public schooling in the United States today. Movements, however,—though often led by an individual—rarely occur simply because an individual person wished them to be so, and this was also true with the common school movement. Although there is no denying ...


Philosophy Of Ancient Athens, Samuel J. Smith Dec 2014

Philosophy Of Ancient Athens, Samuel J. Smith

Samuel James Smith

“Know Thyself! The unexamined Life is not worth Living.” Whether you agree or not with Socrates’ claim that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” you cannot refute that Socrates, this ancient Athenian who lived four centuries before Christ, made a huge impact on the fields of philosophy and of education. Known primarily for his teaching method, Socrates was accused of riling up the youth of his time. When someone challenges others to think differently than the traditional ways that have been passed down, it sometimes upsets the apple cart, the power structure, the political system. And that’s exactly ...