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Wheels in the Head: Educational Philosophies of Authority, Freedom, and Culture from Socrates to Paulo Freire

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This work analyzes the ideas of traditional and non-traditional philosophers from Plato to Paulo Freire regarding the contribution of education to the creation of a democratic society. Each section is organized around an important theme (for example, whose schools transmit in a multicultural society?).


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This work analyzes the ideas of traditional and non-traditional philosophers from Plato to Paulo Freire regarding the contribution of education to the creation of a democratic society. Each section is organized around an important theme (for example, whose schools transmit in a multicultural society?).

30 review for Wheels in the Head: Educational Philosophies of Authority, Freedom, and Culture from Socrates to Paulo Freire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A very good tour of educational philosophies from Plato to Freire's critical pedagogy, though he uses a 'topic' approach, bringing in thinkers who are relevant, for eg. democracy, human rights, authoritarianism, etc. I had first read a copy from my university library and liked it so much as a reference that I ordered my own copy to have. There is also a good amount of comparison between different thinkers which is always helpful. A few interesting pieces: -Max Stirner makes an interesting point a A very good tour of educational philosophies from Plato to Freire's critical pedagogy, though he uses a 'topic' approach, bringing in thinkers who are relevant, for eg. democracy, human rights, authoritarianism, etc. I had first read a copy from my university library and liked it so much as a reference that I ordered my own copy to have. There is also a good amount of comparison between different thinkers which is always helpful. A few interesting pieces: -Max Stirner makes an interesting point about indoctrination: the test is whether one can get rid of an idea or belief from their mind. If they can, it has not been indoctrinated. The question I have is whether this capacity to unlearn or descent from ideas is different for young and adult people. Youthful naivety (not a bad thing in the grand scheme of development and trusting of your caregivers) means ease of belief but does not seem to suggest more difficulty in unlearning or descent from believing in an idea. An obvious example here is religion, and the strategy of 'getting them while their young' may very well work to captivate the mind to those ideas, vs. adults who can reason. **-perhaps the most important contribution of the book is from the title and as explained throughout, 'Wheels in the Head', are ideas people hold as fundamental to their outlook on life; so fundamental that it controls them. This concept came from Stirner. He also differentiates between a free person where knowledge expands his choices, and the educated person where knowledge determines his choices (quite an odd formulation). And of course, Stirner believes today we have a vast number of 'educated' people (or people with lots of wheels in their head), and few 'free people', and that this outcome is the ongoing intentional goal of the modern state controlling education (wow!). -he discussed Rousseau's 5 stages of the "evolution of the state". His essential thesis is that children are born as sharing and caring individuals, but once they begin interacting with society and discover concepts like property, law, and state, they become selfish and hoard things. This was why in his famous 'Emile' he advocating keeping children away from society until adolescence or teen years so as to prevent their losing of their natural state of sharing. This was in an attempt to make a society of sharing, a kind of socialism. -he talks about early feminist points of view, such as Wollstonecraft, which were quite interesting and very different than modern feminist perspectives. The early views seems to have been on the right track by advocating political liberty for women (incl. education), but also maintaining a virtuous life and a consideration for future happiness (family). Today, imho, feminists have taken a sophistic turn and advocated liberty in the most extreme sense of freedom from any constraints or responsibilities, a hedonistic life. The early points of view of (Mary) Wollstonecraft seems to have been forgotten. One last point, a long quote, is fantastically interesting on the ideas of Camille Paglia: p146-"It is in this attempt to create an orderly world that men hoped to find freedom. But, because of the inescapable demonic powers of nature, this quest for freedom is...an illusion. On the other hand, women initially allow men to exert power over them because of the ability of male strength to provide protection. But, similarly to men trying to escape the power of the mother, women try to escape male domination. To gain independence, women try to exercise power over men through sexual attraction. The femme fatale is the symbol of women's struggle against male domination....[S]ex is combat....The more men attempt to control nature, the more the femme fatale reappears"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Mazerolle

    The book that singlehandedly shaped my approach to teaching as a philosophy. Not a how to book mind you, it is a book that reminds you what education is supposed to be and the dangerous pitfalls that teachers can easily embrace. A must read for all educators.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    another book i read for a democracy and education class

  4. 5 out of 5

    Drew

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erica Jones

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rey Carlo Sajulan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt Sharp

  8. 5 out of 5

    Keziah

  9. 5 out of 5

    Edd Simmons

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andreais Flexible

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Linn

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Otis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Dunn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tania GaliƱanes

  16. 4 out of 5

    Derek

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allison Weissman

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  19. 5 out of 5

    hung

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nick DiMartino

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reza

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Allard

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marlin Harrison

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lorri

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  29. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Strader

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