•  3448
    Illusory intelligences?
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4): 611-630. 2008.
    Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences has had a huge influence on school education. But its credentials lack justification, as the first section of this paper shows via a detailed philosophical analysis of how the intelligences are identified. If we want to make sense of the theory, we need to turn from a philosophical to a historical perspective. This is provided in the second section, which explores how the theory came to take shape in the course of Gardner's intellectual developme…Read more
  •  2619
    What schools are for and why
    Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain IMPACT pamphlet No 14. 2007.
    In England and Wales we have had a National Curriculum since 1988. How can it have survived so long without aims to guide it? This IMPACT pamphlet argues that curriculum planning should begin not with a boxed set of academic subjects of a familiar sort, but with wider considerations of what schools should be for. We first work out a defensible set of wider aims backed by a well-argued rationale. From these we develop sub-aims constituting an aims-based curriculum. Further detail is provided here…Read more
  •  778
    Elusive rivalry? Conceptions of the philosophy of education
    Ethics and Education 5 (2): 135-145. 2010.
    What is analytical philosophy of education (APE)? And what has been its place in the history of the subject over the last fifty years? In a recent essay in Ethics and Education (Vol 2, No 2 October 2007) on ‘Rival conceptions of the philosophy of education’, Paul Standish described a number of features of APE. Relying on both historical and philosophical argument, the present paper critically assesses these eight points, as well as another five points delineating APE in the Introduction to The B…Read more
  •  693
    Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (supplement s1): 123-141. 2009.
    Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects,…Read more
  •  642
    What does it mean to be well-educated?
    Think (28): 9-16. 2011.
    A brief account of educational aims, focussing on preparation for a life of autonomous well-being
  •  570
    Education and a Meaningful Life
    Oxford Review of Education 35 (4): 423-435. 2009.
    Everyone will agree that education ought to prepare young people to lead a meaningful life, but there are different ways in which this notion can be understood. A religious interpretation has to be distinguished from the secular one on which this paper focuses. Meaningfulness in this non-religious sense is a necessary condition of a life of well-being, having to do with the nesting of one’s reasons for action within increasingly pervasive structures of activity and attachment. Sometimes a life c…Read more
  •  506
    Wellbeing and education: Issues of culture and authority
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 41 (1). 2007.
    The idea that education should equip people to lead flourishing lives and help others to do so is now becoming salient in policy-making circles. Philosophy of education can help here by clarifying what flourishing consists in. This essay examines one aspect of this. It rejects the view that well-being goods are derivable from human nature, as in the theories of Howard Gardner and Edmond Holmes. It locates them, rather, as cultural products, but not culturally-relative ones, drawing attention to …Read more
  •  115
    Justifying Private Schools
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4): 496-510. 2016.
    The paper looks at arguments for and against private schools, first in general and then, at greater length, in their British form. Here it looks first at defences against the charge that private schooling is unfair, discussing on the way problems with equality as an intrinsic value and with instrumental appeals to greater equality, especially in access to university and better jobs. It turns next to charges of social exclusiveness, before looking in more detail at claims about the dangers privat…Read more
  •  106
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 4 (1): 107-120. 1970.
    A reply to Gregory and Woods on the nature of indoctrination, critiquing their view that content is the all-important consideration. The paper also makes a case for institutional indoctrination as well as that for which individuals are responsible.
  •  93
    Methods in philosophy of education (edited book)
    with Frieda Heyting and Dieter Lenzen
    Routledge. 2001.
    This book gives a comprehensive account of methods in philosophy of education, it also examines their application in the 'real world' of education. It will therefore be of interest to philosophers and educators alike.
  •  81
    The dishwasher's child: Education and the end of egalitarianism
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 28 (2). 1994.
    This paper argues that egalitarianism, in itself and as a basis for educational policy, is unacceptable. Three recent defences of it are examined and rejected. Three anti-egalitarian positions, however, all of which stress sufficiency rather than equality, pass muster. Educational implications are followed through, with reference to mixed ability grouping, selection, equal opportunities in education and conflicting views about the minimum content of a common school curriculum.
  •  77
    Autonomy, human flourishing and the curriculum
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (3). 2006.
    This is a book in the ‘Thinking in Action’ series, which ‘takes philosophy to the public’. The review outlines the argument in the two halves of the book: on educational aims; and on controversial policy issues. In its assessment of the arguments it focuses on the following topics: problems in the relationships between happiness, flourishing, and personal autonomy; the justification of the traditional subject‐centred curriculum; the role of conjecture in the argument for state‐funded faith‐based…Read more
  •  68
    Education and the Good Life
    British Journal of Educational Studies 39 (3): 366-367. 1991.
  •  66
    Education, Work and Well‐being
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 31 (2). 1997.
    The paper explores relationships between work and education. It begins with the meaning of 'work' and critically examines the claim in Richard Norman and Sean Sayers that work is a basic human need. After a section on the place of autonomous and heteronomous work in personal well-being, the paper finishes with comments on education and the future of work.
  •  65
    The philosopher's contribution to educational research
    with R. S. Peters
    Educational Philosophy and Theory 1 (2). 1969.
  •  63
    Elizabeth Anderson interviewed by John White
    with Elizabeth Anderson
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 53 (1): 5-20. 2019.
  •  59
    Philosophy in Primary Schools?
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (3): 449-460. 2012.
    The article is a critical discussion of the aims behind the teaching of philosophy in British primary schools. It begins by reviewing the recent Special Issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol 45 Issue 2 2011 on ‘Philosophy for Children in Transition’, so as to see what light this might throw on the topic just mentioned. The result is patchy; many, but not all, of the papers in the Special Issue deal with issues far removed from the classroom. Insights from the more practical papers,…Read more
  •  59
    The Aims of Education Restated
    British Journal of Educational Studies 31 (1): 71-73. 1983.
  •  50
    Indoctrination and Systems: A Reply to Rebecca Taylor
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (4): 760-768. 2017.
    This is a reply to Rebecca Taylor's 2017 JOPE article ‘Indoctrination and Social Context: A System-based Approach to Identifying the Threat of Indoctrination and the Responsibilities of Educators’. It agrees with her in going beyond the indoctrinatory role of the individual teacher to include that of whole educational systems, but differs in emphasizing indoctrinatory intention rather than outcome; and in allowing the possibility of indoctrination without individual teachers being indoctrinators…Read more
  •  50
    In the World Library of Educationalists series, international experts themselves compile career- long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces-extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and/practical contributions-so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Readers will be able to follow the themes and strands of their work and see their contribution to the development of a field. Emeritus Professor John White has spent the last …Read more
  •  48
    Patriotism without obligation
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 35 (1). 2001.
    Should we educate for patriotism? The issue has exercised many political philosophers and philosophers of education over the last few years and produced radical divisions among them. This paper comments on two recent contributions to the debate, by David Stevens and David Archard. While both these essays oppose education for patriotism, the present paper supports it. It argues that David Stevens's essay wrongly assumes that patriotic sentiment must be based on obligations to one's fellow-nationa…Read more
  •  45
    This book engages with widespread current anxieties about the future of work and its place in a fulfilled human life.
  •  43
    The education of the emotions
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 18 (2). 1984.
    A critical discussion of R S Peters' account of emotions and their place in education.
  •  43
    Liberalism, nationality and education
    Studies in Philosophy and Education 15 (1): 193-199. 1996.
    Yael Tamir's book Liberal Nationalism seeks to show that liberalism and nationalism are not incompatible political philosophies. Nationalism need not take the closed, authoritarian form it has so often taken; and liberalism is premised on certain national ideas, including national self-determination. This critical discussion of her account is broadly sympathetic to the compatibility thesis, but takes issue both with her notion of nationalism, with her account of a nation as a self-conscious cult…Read more
  •  42
    Creativity and Education: A Philosophical Analysis
    British Journal of Educational Studies 16 (2). 1968.
    No abstract
  •  42
    The Role of Policy in Philosophy of Education: An Argument and an Illustration
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (4): 503-515. 2012.
    The article consists of a general section looking at changes since the 1960s in the links between philosophy of education and policy-making, followed by a specific section engaging in topical policy critique. The historical argument claims that policy involvement was far more widespread in our subject before the mid-1980s than it has been since then, and discusses various reasons for this change. The second section is a close examination of the Expert Panel's December 2011 recommendations on the…Read more
  •  36
    The value of education: A reply to Andrew Reid
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 34 (4). 2000.
    Andrew Reid's essay on the value of education in this journal distinguished the intrinsic features of education from what education is for, the latter being ultimately located in the promotion of personal well-being. At a meta-ethical level, this response accepts Reid's claim about ultimate location, but challenges his view that prudential goods are desire-independent, arguing for a desire-dependent conception based on supra-individual, but not always universal-human, preferences. It also questi…Read more
  •  36
    Moral Education and Education in Altruism: Two Replies to Michael Hand
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (3): 448-460. 2016.
    This article is a critical discussion of two recent papers by Michael Hand on moral education. The first is his ‘Towards a Theory of Moral Education’, published in the Journal of Philosophy of Education in 2014. The second is a chapter called ‘Beyond Moral Education?’ in an edited book of new perspectives on my own work in philosophy and history of education, published in the same year. His two papers are linked in that he applies the theory outlined in the former to a critique in the latter of …Read more
  •  35
    Five Critical Stances Towards Liberal Philosophy of Education in Britain
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 37 (1): 147-184. 2003.
    In this paper John White argues that there has been a decline in interest in and support for liberalism in British philosophy of education. He provides examples of work by leading figures in the field that demonstrates scepticism about the key liberal value of autonomy and offers an analysis of new influences in the field that have contributed to this decline. In particular he notes the increase of work from a religious perspective. Doubts are expressed about the practical relevance to education…Read more
  •  35
    Accountability and School Inspection: In Defence of Audited Self‐Review
    with Andrew Davis
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 35 (4). 2001.
    Accountability involves not only schools answering to society, but parents and governments doing the same. In particular, governments should answer for the appropriateness of the educational aims they seek to promote. Making schools accountable to society through examination results is fundamentally flawed. Teachers must be able to account for how the specifics of their job relate to wider educational and social aims. The best approach to holding schools to account through external inspection is…Read more