The Legacy of Isocrates and a Platonic Alternative: Political Philosophy and the Value of Education 1351730738, 9781351730730

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The Legacy of Isocrates and a Platonic Alternative: Political Philosophy and the Value of Education
 1351730738, 9781351730730

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The Legacy of Isocrates and a Platonic Alternative

Bringing together the history of educational philosophy, political philosophy, and rhetoric, this book examines the influence of the philosopher Isocrates on educational thought and the history of education. Unifying philosophical and historical arguments, Muir discusses the role of Isocrates in raising two central questions: What is the value of education? By what methods ought the value of education to be determined? Tracing the historical influence of Isocrates’ ideas of the nature and value of education from antiquity to the modern era, Muir questions normative assumptions about the foundations of education and considers the future status of education as an academic discipline. James R. Muir is Professor of Philosophy at University of Winnipeg, Canada.

Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education

Parallels and Responses to Curricular Innovation The Possibilities of Posthumanistic Education Brad Petitfils Posthumanism and Educational Research Edited by Nathan Snaza and John A. Weaver Education Reform and the Concept of Good Teaching Derek Gottlieb Education, Justice and the Human Good Fairness and Equality in the Education System Kirsten Meyer Systems of Reason and the Politics of Schooling School Reform and Sciences of Education in the Tradition of Thomas S. Popkewitz Edited by Miguel A. Pereyra and Barry M. Franklin K-12 Education as a Hermeneutic Adventurous Endeavor Education as a Sovereign Agent for Humanity Doron Yosef-Hassidim Indigenous Philosophies of Education Around the World Edited by John E. Petrovic and Roxanne Mitchell The Legacy of Isocrates and a Platonic Alternative History, Political Philosophy, and the Value of Education James R. Muir For more information about this series, please visit: Routledge-International-Studies-in-the-Philosophy-of-Education/bookseries/SE0237

The Legacy of Isocrates and a Platonic Alternative History, Political Philosophy, and the Value of Education James R. Muir

First published 2019 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 Taylor & Francis The right of James R. Muir to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-73917-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-18430-2 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC


Acknowledgments Introduction

vii 1


Isocrates’ Idea of the Nature and Value of Education 1 2


Isocrates and the History of Education: Educationists vs. Everyone Else


The History of the Isocratic Idea of the Nature and Value of Education



The Historical Transmission and Evolution of the Isocratic Idea of Education 3


The Isocratic Idea of Education: Rome to the Early Middle Ages



The Isocratic Idea of Education in the Middle Ages



The Isocratic Idea and Renaissance Humanism



Education and Modern Political Philosophy



Critique of the Isocratic Idea and Outline of the Parmenidean-Platonic Alternative




The Inadequacy of the Isocratic Idea and DCD Method




The Parmenidean-Platonic Alternative I: Normative Method and Education


The Parmenidean-Platonic Alternative II: An Outline of Educational Practice




Bibliography Index

252 293



This book was begun many years ago at Jesus College, University of Oxford and at St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. My greatest debt is to my wife, Alison Muir. Without her encouragement, I would never have revived this material and turned it into the book it was always intended to be. She has read every word of the manuscript and helped to correct everything from infelicities of style to errors, and used her expertise in art history to discover portraits of Isocrates in illuminated manuscripts and a 17th-century statue of Isocrates I never knew existed. This book is dedicated to her with love, admiration and thankfulness. I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. Orhan Pamuk, The New Life (1997), Ch. 1 The others experienced nothing like it even though they heard the same tales. Novalis, Henry von Ofterdingen (1802), Ch. 1 I am grateful to Taylor & Francis Group for permission to use some material from my earlier articles, Muir, J. R. (1996b) ‘The Evolution of Contemporary Educational Philosophy: Past Decline and Future Prospects’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 1–26; Muir, J. R. (1998) ‘The History of Educational Ideas and the Credibility of Philosophy of Education’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 30, No.1, pp. 7–26; Muir, J. R. (2004) ‘Is There a History of Educational Philosophy? John White vs the Historical Evidence’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 35–56; Muir, J. R. (2005) ‘Is Our History of Educational Thought Mostly Wrong?’, Theory and Research in Education, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 165–195. I am grateful to Jennifer Bonnar for her excellent work on the manuscript.


Our Heraclitean Moment Philosophers from Aristotle1 to Kant2 and beyond3 have argued that the nature of government and education are the two most important of all philosophical questions, and the most difficult to answer. Education is the most important of all human activities because almost everything else that occurs in the life of any person, community, regime or civilization depends on what education is understood to be. If education is the architectonic enterprise of private and public life, then study of the nature, value and normative methodology of education is at least as important as the study of other universal human enterprises, including politics, economics, religion and science. Unfortunately, contemporary thought and academic compartmentalization do not see things this way: on the contrary, education is now assumed to be a secondary and subservient enterprise, subordinated to politics, economics and religion and valued as a means to their goals (justice, prosperity, faith). This assumption was articulated approvingly—indeed, prescriptively—by Dewey as a guiding principle of the then new Schools of Education when he asserted that their primary subject of study ought to be the use of state schools as instruments of social reform,4 and therefore the training of the school teacher “as a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth”.5 The same assumption was also noted earlier and with scornful disapproval by Nietzsche, who lamented “Our absurd pedagogical world, before which the ‘useful civil servant’ hovers as a model”.6 Since c. 1900, the low and subordinate status of education is reflected in the fact that while politics, economics and religion all have academic departments in our universities devoted to their study as autonomous enterprises, education alone does not. There are, of course, various Departments and Schools of Education in the universities, but these new academic specialties were not established for the academic study of education itself, were not intended to seek knowledge of education, and were not an innovation of the universities themselves. Educational Studies were imposed on the universities by government at the turn of the last century, and explicitly established solely for the support and advocacy of state schooling, understood as a means to political and social reform



directed by government.7 Consequently, beginning in the early 1900s, study of the rich traditions of educational philosophy, ideas, policy and practice was replaced in the universities by the advocacy of state schooling and therefore by study of what very little history and philosophical methodology served that goal. This had serious and debilitating consequences both for the intellectual and academic status of Educational Studies, and for our understanding of the nature of educational philosophy, and its methods and history.8 Philosophical study of the nature, normative methods, and goals and value of education as an autonomous enterprise had a rich and unbroken history, from classical antiquity until the present day.9 Unfortunately, almost none of this history—especially the philosophical methods and ideas it consisted of—is now studied in Educational Studies, in part because prominent educationists assert that there cannot be a history of educational philosophy prior to the advent of state schooling.10 Consequently, what was once a diverse and yet unified approach to educational philosophy and the history of educational ideas has been arbitrarily divided into parts over the past century or so, and half of those parts then discarded or, more often, simply forgotten. These divisions and the subsequent jettisoning of philosophical methods and ideas continues to have debilitating consequences for Educational Studies, including a loss of diversity of both normative methods and ideas, which has in turn contributed to the rapid decline of its academic status, practical influence, and numbers of faculty positions.11 I will adumbrate four of these new divisions of the study of education: (1) division of the subject matter of educational thought into two parts, (2) division of the chronology of the history of educational philosophy into two parts, (3) division of the academic study of the history of educational philosophy and ideas into several academic departments and then (4) the division of methodology in educational philosophy into two parts. I will discuss these four divisions only insofar as they form a historical tableau from which my argument begins. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, state schooling came to be seen as the primary institutional means for delivering formal education to those who could not afford private schools. To meet the demands of these new, compulsory educational institutions, universities were required by governments to initiate new Schools of Educational Studies devoted to advocating state schooling and training teachers to work in state schools.12 One almost accidental artifact of the creation of Educational Studies was that the subject matter of the philosophical study of education was divided into two parts, the study of education and the study of state schooling. The subject of earlier traditions of educational thought was education as an autonomous human enterprise, with its own unique goals and normative methods and criteria. In the new academic Schools of Education, however, that subject was reduced to one mode of education, namely state schools, understood as subordinate instruments of political reform. In effect, from Nunn to Reid to Peters and beyond,13 the study of education was redefined as the study of state schooling in the service of state-mandated political reforms.14



The division and reduction of the subject of educational philosophy, from education to state schooling, caused a second division of the study of education: the chronology of the history of educational thought and practice into two parts, followed by the exclusion of any serious study of almost all of the history of educational philosophy prior to the advent of state schooling.15 Philosophical study of education has a continuous history, from classical antiquity until the present day. Very little of this history is directly concerned with state schooling and advocacy of it, and, indeed, there are many philosophers in the history of educational thought who provide powerful (albeit now all but impermissible) arguments which challenge the primacy of state schooling and sometimes the very idea of state schooling: one thinks of Rousseau, Locke and Macaulay’s arguments for domestic education (now called home schooling) or Adam Smith’s arguments for the importance of parental control of education as a means to prevent the state or other political elites from controlling the political education of the working class. Since much of the tradition of educational philosophy is not only not concerned with state schooling but provides profound challenges to it, educationists simply divided the history of educational thought into two parts, pre-state schooling and post-state schooling, and then declared that philosophy of education did not exist before 1935 (Kaminsky) or 1960 (Peters) or the 1750s (White), despite sometimes admitting that they had never studied the history of the subject!16 Indeed, many in the first generations of those teaching and writing about educational philosophy and the history of educational philosophy in Educational Studies had no formal training in either subject, and many of the effects of such ignorance remain uncorrected to this day.17 As I will illustrate throughout this book, this is a leitmotif of the intellectual and scholarly standards of Educational Studies: confident pronouncements of what “everyone knows” about the history of educational philosophy made by academics who provide no historical evidence or argumentation, and who (sometimes) admit that they have never studied it. The division of the chronology of educational thought caused our third division of the study of education: a division between educationists who study only the post-1700s history of educational philosophy, and non-educationists who study the entire history of educational philosophy and ideas. Study and research in the history and philosophy of education has come to be divided (with very little overlap)18 between academics in Educational Studies on the one hand, and scholars in departments of philosophy,19 history,20 political science,21 classics,22 rhetoric23 and even literature24 on the other. The history of educational thought was thus arbitrarily divided into two models: the noneducationist model consisting of the history of educational philosophy and ideas from c. 500 bce to the present, vs. the much less diverse educationist model consisting of the history of educational thought only insofar as is supportive of the advocacy of state schooling and only if it is limited to the period after the 1700s (or, in some cases, after 1935, or even 1965).25 The predictable results of the arbitrary and counterfactual limitations self-imposed



on Educational Studies were observed by two non-educationist historians of educational ideas, who noted that The history of education was rarely taught or studied systematically outside faculties of education, and even within them it was pursued at too primitive a level to capture the interest of professional historians.26 The educationist neglect of almost the entire history of educational philosophy and ideas, and the consequent persistence of numerous errors and large omissions in their accounts of it, remains a defining feature of Educational Studies to this day.27 Finally, the fourth division of the study of education concerns methodology. The history of educational philosophy provides a number of thoroughly articulated philosophical methods, normative methods especially.28 Educationists, however, after re-defining education as state schooling, and especially after losing virtually all substantial knowledge of the (pre-1900) history of educational philosophy and isolating themselves from historical scholarship, were confronted with a methodological problem: in the absence of all pre1900 accounts of methodology in educational philosophy, how will educationists (often with no training in philosophy or the history of educational philosophy) “apply” philosophy to state schooling? The solution—if one can call it that—was to assume that educational philosophy must be either the “application” of “general philosophy” to educational problems, or the deduction of educational propositions from the “established branches” of “general philosophy” such as epistemology or ethics or metaphysics. Beyond that there is a “widespread resistance amongst philosophers of education to discussing the practice of philosophy in terms of methods and methodology”, and no accounts of methodology by educationists which refer to either the history of philosophical methodology or contemporary philosophical methodology.29 No argument was ever presented for the methodological assumption that educational philosophy must be application or deduction, and the very different methodological arguments available in the history of educational philosophy were never recovered and examined because they are articulated in works outside the chronological parameters of educationist historiography. The pervasive role of conditional deduction as the normative method in educational thought was once widely recognized and discussed, but there have been no explicit discussions of it for over a century despite its continuing widespread usage.30 Consequently, since the 1960s educationists have unknowingly conformed to the conditionally deductive methodology of the dominant Isocratic heritage, and deduced educational propositions from whatever the most fashionable academic and political doctrines happened to be at the time.31 Educationists play no role in formulating or developing these academic doctrines, and are largely ignored by those who do. Methodologically, educationists merely conform to a series of doctrines as their academic prestige in other academic departments rose and fell. This conformity has the common



(if unarticulated) logical structure of conditionally deductive arguments which had and still have the same general form: “If doctrine x is true or treated as if it were true, then education ought to be conducted and valued according to doctrine x”. This general form has two variants.32 The first variant of conditional deduction were attempts to declare that educational philosophy must consist of the deduction of educational propositions from the “traditional” branches of philosophy such as epistemology or moral philosophy. These unargued declarations were artifacts of the fact that so many of the earlier educationists had not studied philosophy, philosophical methodology or the history of philosophy, and consequently did not know that “epistemology” was not a traditional branch of philosophy at all. On the contrary, the word “epistemology” and the new branch of Anglo-American academic philosophy it named did not exist until the late 1800s, and came into common usage at the same time as the new Schools of Education; the new educationist “philosophy of education” and “epistemology” come into existence at the same time, as part of the proliferation of new specialties and sub-specialties in German and then AngloAmerican academic philosophy. Similarly, the phrase “moral philosophy” signified little more than the reading of edifying classical and Biblical exemplars under the direction of a clergyman. No philosopher prior to 1900 deduced educational propositions from “epistemology” or “moral philosophy”, and it requires a crude combination of historical anachronism, tendentious textual selection, and attributive classification to make any of them seem as if they do. Educationists select and distort small parts of the texts of Locke or Descartes or Spinoza to make them seem to be “epistemologists” or “moral philosophers” in conformity to the opinions of our time in exactly the same way that Dean Inge’s Hulsean Lectures sought to transform Plato’s texts into prescience of Christianity in conformity to the opinions of his time (sufficient to earn him three nominations for a Nobel Prize). The second variant of conditional deduction in Educational Studies devolved to the deduction of educational prescriptions from fashionable academic doctrines, some of them philosophical but, in recent years especially, most of them not. In more-or-less chronological order from the 1800s to the 2000s, a list of the fashionable academic doctrines from which the nature and goals of state schooling have been deduced by educationists includes sensationalism, naturalism, Absolute Idealism, Hegelian idealism, idealism, empiricism, essentialism, perennialism, supernaturalism, social Darwinism, transcendentalism, phenomenology, emotivism, pragmatic progressivism, scientific progressivism and behaviorism, Thomism, neo-Thomism, Marxism, social engineering, neo-Marxism, socialism, critical theory, several variants of existentialism, anarchism (Long Live Kropotkin!), Freudian (and Reichian for A.S. Neill) psychology, communitarianism, libertarianism, endless variants of liberalism, various versions of the doctrine of material causality such as sex-race-class theory (e.g. critical race theory), various versions of feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, cultural studies, structuralism, poststructuralism, (neo-) Aristotelianism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, and, in the next few years no doubt, the latest transient trends in post-humanism,



anti-neoliberalism, “white privilege”, and intersectionality.33 This sequential conformity to second-hand, simplified versions of fashionable doctrines as they come and go in other disciplines has contributed nothing at all to the development of educational philosophy as an academic discipline; indeed, it has helped to petrify educationalist philosophy in anachronistic ideas and methodological assumptions of the early 1900s and thereby to confirm both the presumption that educational philosophy is a subordinate discipline and the perception of its low intellectual status and marginal institutional existence. It is increasingly clear that educational philosophy within Educational Studies cannot be sustained in this way very long, ignorant of its own history and methodologically dependent on arbitrary self-subordination to transient doctrines of other disciplines.34 The arguments I develop in this book (and elsewhere) uses this deterioration of historical and methodological self-knowledge in the study of educational philosophy and ideas as a point of departure. These arguments develop themes I first articulated some 20 years ago, and which have been subject to encouraging discussion in European, Iranian, African, Mexican, American, Korean and, eventually even in educationist scholarship as well.35 The historical and methodological themes are united by the educational philosophy of Isocrates and its unequaled and yet (within Educational Studies) unrecognized influence in the entire history of educational philosophy and practice. My intentions are identified by Michael Burke at Utrecht University: A cogent case has recently been made by Muir that Isocrates should be reappraised for his role, not only as the founding father of the liberal arts and sciences, but also as a key educational theorist.36 As educational philosophy as an academic discipline continues to decline, and as academic programs and jobs in the discipline continue to disappear, educational philosophy cannot continue on the path it is on now. There are only two possible alternative paths to the future. On one path educational philosophy and ideas will continue in departments of philosophy, classics, rhetoric, literature, history and others. This path has the advantage that historically informed and methodologically sophisticated philosophy of education might survive in some form, but it has the very great disadvantage that the study of education will be both fragmented amongst many other disciplines and a secondary interest for all of them. The other path is that Educational Studies will be reformed so that its subject matter is education itself, and consequently so that it begins to study the whole history of educational philosophy and ideas, and recovers the methodological diversity and sophistication of the history of educational philosophy. The current generation of educationists are very unlikely to depart from their established custom of deducing prescriptions for state schooling from second-hand doctrines in other disciplines, and so will not contribute to a revitalisation of educational philosophy. As Planck observed in the case of the sciences:



A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up familiar with it. (Planck 1949, pp. 33–34) This is, perhaps, a Heraclitean theme, but in thought as in life there is no beginning without an end. We are witnessing a historically rare and wonderful opportunity to return to the point in the early 1900s at which educational philosophy was internally divided and separated from its own history and methods, and then to re-start the discipline on a foundation of historiography and methodology that is not so anachronistic, incomplete and ultimately arbitrary as it has been in Educational Studies. This essay is intended, therefore, to recover a little of what has been lost, and so to reveal a little of what we stand to gain by understanding educational philosophy as an autonomous discipline with its own unique set of questions, its own methods and its own noble intellectual lineage rather than continuing to be dependent on the doctrines and methods of other academic disciplines, and the goals of political agencies and ideological activists. Protreptic This book is best understood as a protreptic, a mode of philosophical writing shared by three great Socratic philosophers, Plato, Isocrates and Aristotle, and transmitted from them to Cicero’s Hortensius, Augustine37 and many others. The protreptic is an invitation and exhortation to the reader to participate in the philosophical way of life, a communal way of life which is distinct from and happier than religious or political life because, in part, it does not restrict thought and sentiment within the bounds of political or religious or academic doctrine. The protreptic, then, does not seek to persuade or to convince the reader to accept a particular opinion about justice or nature or the gods. On the contrary, the protreptic is intended to accomplish two much more modest goals: first, to enable the reader to discover self-knowledge of their own ignorance of the truth about such things and, second, to invite the reader to join in the examination of much greater diversity of arguments and ideas than current opinion offers or, sometimes, allows. There is nothing valuable about a diversity of ideas in itself, but rather a diversity of ideas and the arguments for them is valuable because it is a prerequisite for freedom of thought, and freedom of thought is in turn a prerequisite of any search of mutual understanding, autonomy,38 justice and, above all, knowledge. To use the words of Plato’s Apology, the objective of the protreptic is to entice the reader to desire and to seek a community devoted to freedom of thought and the search for knowledge about the most important things. The specific intention of this book is not to advocate specific opinions or ideas but rather to recover and revitalize historical and philosophical understanding of the nature of education, the value and purpose of education,



and the diversity of normative methods by which such value and purpose is articulated and then justified. There are, of course, answers to these three questions—academically habitual or, increasingly, compulsory—which are already available to us in contemporary academic discussions of state schooling, though all of these answers are subject to varying degrees and intensity of disagreement. There are also, however, very different conceptions of the nature and normative purposes of education, and especially of normative methodology, that are distinguishing features of the entire history of educational philosophy in Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East, and yet which have been neglected and eventually disappeared entirely from Educational Studies. Consequently, as I have already emphasized, I intend to recover and revitalize these neglected historical and philosophical arguments, and to show their relevance to contemporary debates and ideological stalemates concerning normative methodology and the normative purposes of education. The contribution is in the nature of a prelude or protreptic. My aim here is not the elaboration of a doctrine but rather the regeneration of buried possibilities and forgotten questions. I mean to suggest an agenda for serious reflection on our fundamental situation, spurred by an awareness that we stand at a historical turning point.39 I should add that the arguments I offer concerning the nature, purposes and normative methods of education reflect both our imperfect and incomplete understanding of them, but also, and especially, reflect my understanding of the proper academic task and the virtues that ought to guide academic activity. In a manner reminiscent of Machiavelli’s observations about the permanent struggle between the many and the great,40 there are some academics who write as if the proper prerogative of the academic is to prescribe solutions to difficult questions of public policy which are so totally (and totalisingly) definitive that the power of the state ought to be used to both eliminate alternatives and to make the prescribed solutions compulsory for every citizen.41 My view of the proper academic task is quite different in the moderating virtues it demands and in the moderate task it sets for itself. It is not the role of the academic to prescribe (and even less to seek to compel), but rather to contribute to the diversification of debate by recovering forgotten and, sometimes, unpopular alternative ideas and the arguments for them. The protreptic prepares fellow citizens to participate in debate that acknowledges the real diversity of opinion that actually exists in the community or regime rather than authoritatively proscribing such diversity before allowing any “autonomous” debate to occur; everyone is open-minded until they encounter an argued opinion contrary to their own, which is when the real test begins. Intellectual autonomy is not a matter of an attitude of openness to alternatives in the abstract, but a matter of desire and willingness to seek detailed and first-hand knowledge of what the alternatives are, and the arguments offered by the people who really believe them. The intention



of this book is, in other words, to recover some understanding of the most fundamental alternative ideas of the nature and value of education, and of normative methodology, so to clear the debris from one path leading back to these philosophical questions with fuller vision, greater diversity of ideas, and a renewed sense of urgency in public debate.

Outline of the Argument of This Book The subject of this protreptic essay is philosophical and historical examination of three inseparable questions on which all educational practice depends: What is the nature of formal education? What ought to be the purpose(s) and value of education? What normative method(s) ought to be used to articulate and justify our propositions concerning the purposes and value of education? The intention of my arguments is not to definitely answer these questions, which no one person can do. My intention is to recover and systematically re-articulate the two answers that have been given to these questions in the history of educational philosophy, and the structure of the unavoidable debate between them throughout the history of educational philosophy. A re-articulation of these two answers and the debate between them can, in turn, serve as a first step toward greater historical and methodological diversity in contemporary normative debate about the goals of formal education. The argument proceeds in three main parts. Part 1 (Chapters 1 and 2) begins with a historically informed schematic articulation of the logical structure of these three questions which serves as a template for the arguments to follow. The argument begins with an articulation of the logical structure of formal education, or what education is. There is remarkable agreement in the history of education concerning the logical structure of education, though there has been almost no study of it since the 1960s. The primary debate in the history of education is concerned with the nature of education: given the logical structure of education, is it the nature of formal education to be subordinate or autonomous? In other words, is education subordinate to other enterprises and valued as a means to their goals, or is education an autonomous enterprise with goals and value wholly unique to it? Part 1 argues that this question is most commonly answered historically with the claim that education is an essentially subordinate enterprise. Specifically it is argued or, more often, assumed that education must be and/or ought to be subordinate to more important enterprises such as politics (including economics) and religion. To say that education is essentially subordinate to politics or religion, or to some combination of them, is to say that education is primarily valued as a means to attain the goals of those enterprises, namely, justice and faith. In the Middle Ages, formal education was valued as a means to ensure that students attained and sustained faith and righteousness as defined by Jewish or Christian or Islamic theological-political doctrine.42 Since c. 1900, formal education, and especially state schooling, has been increasingly subordinated to politics and primarily valued as a means to political justice43 as defined by political doctrine.44



The assumption that education is and/or ought to be subordinate to other enterprises entails the necessary question of normative methodology by which the goals and value of education are articulated and justified. The most common normative method in the history of educational philosophy is doctrinal conditional deduction (DCD), by which the goals and value of education are deduced from an axiomatic political doctrine which defines justice. If it is believed that monotheistic theologico-political doctrine best defines political justice, then the goals and value of education will be deduced from that doctrine; on the other hand, if it is believed that liberal or Marxist or neoliberal political doctrine best defines political justice, then the goals and value of education will be deduced from one of those doctrines. What unites feminists and patriarchal conservatives, liberals and neoliberals, Marxists and free market libertarians, and all the other doctrinal constituencies, is the assumption of the primacy of politics in education, and consequently the use of the DCD method to deduce the value of education from the political doctrine to which they are committed. Thus it is that paradoxically concealed behind the current academic rhetoric about the diversity of values in education is a uniformity of unquestioned presuppositions about normative methodology, and the corresponding priority of “the political” in education and intellectual life. It remains to be seen whether these presuppositions constitute important insights into the human condition or, as this essay suggests, merely the latest betrayal of education and philosophy by dogmatically political academics and intellectuals.45 The argument then turns to the historical origins of the assumption that it is the nature of education to be a subordinate enterprise and of the DCD normative method in educational philosophy.46 The classical Greek political philosopher Isocrates first systematically formulated and advocated the idea of the essentially political nature of education and argued that the normative intentions of education therefore must be deduced from political doctrine. This single idea of the nature of education and DCD method will, in practice, give rise to a diversity of educational enterprises. The normative diversity of educational enterprises will be a consequence of the diversity of particular political doctrines to which education can be subordinated and the single normative method adhered to by all political parties. Each of these actual instantiations of the Isocratic idea of education may be described as a doctrine of education. The Isocratic idea of education does not give rise to a diversity of ideas of education, but to a diversity of doctrines of education all presupposing the same idea of the essential nature of education. As paradoxical as it may initially appear, education is “essentially contested” in practice precisely because the idea of the essential nature of education and DCD normative method are not contested in theory. In Part 2 this historical argument proceeds by tracing the transmission and evolution of the Isocratic ideas of the nature of education and DCD normative method throughout the history of European, North African and North American educational thought and practice, from classical antiquity



until the present day. This is not so massive an undertaking as it might first appear, because it is only the progression of the Isocratic idea of education and DCD methodology which are being examined, and not the many doctrinal, curricular and institutional arrangements which have been constructed upon it. This is a history of educational ideas rather than a historical survey of educational practices. The historical study of the Isocratic heritage will conclude with an argument suggesting that the Isocratic idea of education and DCD normative method may be inadequate on philosophical and practical grounds, and that this inadequacy is especially salient within the contingent context of contemporary democratic politics and schooling. Part 3 articulates and then responds to the inadequacies of Isocratic educational philosophy by critically examining the alternative ParmenideanPlatonic (P+P)47 idea of the autonomous nature of education, non-deductive normative method, the principles and practices of the P+P curriculum, and the primacy of freedom of thought as the primary goal of education. At the very least, the Socratic idea of education can remind us that the claim that education is always relative to “culture” or necessarily political is wholly unestablished. There has always been an alternative to the Isocratic idea of education, articulated within the very Socratic tradition of which he is a part, especially in the writings of Plato and Xenophon. In the P+P tradition education is not subordinate to politics and the normative criteria and goals of education are not deduced from or relative to any political doctrine. On the contrary, the P+P idea of the nature of education is constructed with reference to normative standards implied by philosophical questions of permanent and universal importance: not doctrines but questions about what justice is, about what nature is, about the limits of our use of nature, about whether there any gods, or about what the best life is for a human being. The answers that have been given to these questions are very diverse, but the questions themselves are universal and every human community has answers to them. The Socratic understanding of the essential nature of education leads, in practice, to an educational enterprise which is universal because it recovers our shared ignorance and questions, uniting people in spite of—and even because of—their doctrinal differences. Plato joyously understood that education is the only human enterprise which has freedom of thought and the search for knowledge as its primary goals, but he also soberly understood that politics and religion and all other such enterprises always seek to limit such freedom and such searching. Thus it may be a tragic feature of the nature of human existence: freedom of thought and the search for knowledge are the perquisites of any form of autonomy and justice, and yet always opposed and actively limited by believers in every mode of political doctrine. Whether it is religious fanatics hunting blasphemers and misotheists or liberal academics hunting “neoliberals” and hate speech, the principle—and its consequences—is the same. The only solution is to reconsider the possibility that education is not a means to justice, but rather that the autonomy of education is a measure of the justice of any regime.



Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11.



14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Politics (1337, pp. 34–35). Kant (1960, p. 8, p. 12). Dewey (1916, Ch. 1); Strauss (1968, Chs. 1 and 2). Dewey (1897, Article 2). My Pedagogical Creed (1897, Article 5). Cf. Dewey (1904, p. 453). Nietzsche, Wille zur Macht, Sec. 916. Scheffler (1960, p. 3), Koerner (1963, p. ix, p. xi, p. 78), Reid (1962, p. xiii, p. xiv), Phenix (1964, p. x), Dearden (1971), Champlin in Lucas (1970, p. 112), Moore (1982, p. 7, p. 14), Biesta (2014, p. 68), Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xv, p. 1, p. 9, p. 12), Standish (2007, p. 162, p. 169), Burbules (2000, p. 259, pp. 354–355), Feinberg in Kholi (1995, p. 27), Johnston (2007, p. 38, p. 42). Muir (1996b); Muir (1998); Muir (2005). Mintz (2016); Gamble (2007); Muir (2005); Kimball (1986); Marrou (1984). e.g. White (2004); Muir (2003); Johnson (1995); Kaminsky (1993). E.g. Lucas (1969); Dearden (1982, p. 70); Harris (1983); Phillips (1983); Johnson (1995, p. 17, p. 149); Chambliss (1996); Muir (1998); Wright (1999); Stewart and Brizuela (2000, p. 22); Bamfield (2002); Arcilla (2002); Bredo (2002); McCulloch (2002, p. 116); Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xv); Standish (2009); Bullough and Kridel (2011); Christou and Sears (2011); Meens (2013); Biesta (2014); Clark (2015); Hartlep et al. (2015); Reda and Read (2016). See the entire Fall issue of Educational Foundations (2015) Vol. 28, No. 1-4 Scheffler (1960, p. 3); Koerner (1963, p. ix, p. xi, p. 78); Reid (1962, p. xiii, p. xiv); Phenix (1964, p. x) Dearden (1971), Champlin in Lucas (1970, p. 112); Moore (1982, p. 7, p. 14); Biesta (2014, p. 68); Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xv, p. 1, p. 9, p. 12); Standish (2007, p. 162, p. 169); Burbules (2002, p. 259, pp. 354–355); Feinberg in Kholi (1995, p. 27); Johnston (2007, p. 38, p. 42). Dewey (1897); Dewey (1904); Nunn (1920, p. 5, p. 247); Reid (1962, p. xv); Harris (1983, p. 203); White (2009, pp. 123–124). Cf. Biesta (2014, p. 71); Dearden (1982, p. 57); Oancea and Bridges (2009, p. 558); Heslep (1997, p. 1).White (2009), pp. 123-124. Reid (1962, p. xv); Harris (1983, p. 203); Johnston (2007, p. 49); see Tibble (1966, p. vii, pp. 1–2); Peters (1966b, p. 62, p. 84); Tibble (1971, p. 1); Siegel (2009, p. 3); Tibble (1971, Ch. 1); Dearden (1982, p. 57, p. 59). Pring (2017). Cf. Kaminsky (1993); Noddings (1995); Palmer (2001); Cahn (2001); Cahn (2009); Curren (2003); Johnson and Reed (2012). Muir (1998); Muir (2003); Muir (2005). Reid (1962, p. xiii); Koerner (1963); Peters (1977, p. 90); Harris (1983, p. 201); Johnson (1995, p. 39); Muir (1998); Muir (2005); Marsh (2010); Burke (2013); Mintz (2016). Notable exceptions include Kimball’s (1986) excellent survey of the history of orators vs. philosophers in the history of education, or Curren’s (2000a) work on Aristotle. Lehman and Weinman (2018). E.g. Marrou (1948). E.g. Pangle (1992); Burns and Lawler (2014); Villa (2017). E.g. Oakley (1992); Bloomer (2011); Wareh (2012). E.g. Poulakos (1997); Walker (2011). E.g. Proctor (1988); Carnochan (1994); Harpham (2011); Hirsch (1987). See Muir (1998); Muir (2005). Grafton and Jardine (1986, p. xi). Cf. Muir (2005); Richardson (1999a); Richardson (1999b); Wilson and Cowell (1989, p. 52); Koerner (1965). Muir (1998); Muir (2005); Mintz (2016). See Ch. 1 below.



28. Muir (1996a); Muir (1999a). 29. Meens (2013, p. 370). Original italics. Compare even the introductory Daly (2010) or Cappelen et al. (2016) to the vagueness and superficiality of Ruitenberg (2010) or Heyting (2001), neither of which examine or mention any works in philosophical methodology. Cf.: Ruitenberg (2009, p. 317); Standish (2007); Standish (2009); Richardson (1999b, p. 127); Bridges and Smith (2006, pp. 1–2, p. 8); Lawn and Furlong (2009); Meens (2013, p. 370); Johnson (1995, p. 30); Oancea and Bridges (2009, p. 561). 30. See Dielt (1954, pp. 1–3); Stanley (1958, p. 12); Burns (1962, pp. 53–63); Kneller (1962, pp. 34–47, p. 34); Lucas (1969); Nordenbo (1979, p. 433); Evers (1993, pp. 35–45). 31. Muir (2003). 32. These two variants of conditional deduction from axiomatic doctrine are the only methods used (but never articulated) by the contributors of the two recent discussions of method of Educational Studies, Ruitenberg (2010) and Heyting et al. (2001). 33. This is not to say that items in this list such as phenomenology or deconstruction are doctrines, but rather that educationists reduce them to doctrines from which “implications” for state schooling are deduced. See Dewey (1916, p. 395); Nunn (1920, p. 9); Brubacher (1939); Brubacher (1950); Sanders (1940); Johnson (1995, pp. 18–21); Muir (1998); Kohli (2000); Feinberg and Odeshoo (2000, pp. 293–295); Greene (2000); Boler (2000); Kohli (2000); Philips (2000); Johnston (2007); Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xiii); Lawn and Furlong (2009, p. 547); Gilroy (2013, p. 210); Ruitenberg (2010) and Heyting et al. (2001); Burbules and Rybeck (2002, pp. 13–14); Biesta (2014, p. 74); Dearden (1982, p. 64); Johnston (2007, p. 31); Oancea and Bridges (2009, p. 560); Burbules (2002, p. 351, p. 353); Burbules (2000, pp. 6–8). Heraclitus Fr. 87 = Plutarch On Listening to Lectures, 28 D. 34. Lucas (1969); Dearden (1982, p. 70); Harris (1983); Phillips (1983); Johnson (1995, p. 17, p. 149); Chambliss (1996); Muir (1998); Wright (1999); Stewart and Brizuela (2000, p. 22); Arcilla (2002); Bredo (2002); McCulloch (2002, p. 116); Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xv); Standish (2009); Bullough and Kridel (2011); Christou and Sears (2011); Meens (2013); Biesta (2014); Clark (2015); Hartlep et al. (2015); Fall (2015) issue of Educational Foundations; Reda and Read (2016). 35. E.g. Eisenbichler (1998); Hill (1999); Baumeister (2000, p. 73, p. 131, p. 166); Bagchi (2002); Davies (2003); Johnston (2007); Calzadilla (2008); Smith (2009); Marsh (2010); Yang (2011); Bloomer (2011); Ramírez Vidal (2012); Ramírez Vidal (2013); Steel (2014); Yousefil et al. (2015); Zargham et al. (2015); Mintz (2016). 36. Burke (2013, p. 22). Cf. Marsh (2010, p. 289); Marsh (2012); Mintz (2016, p. 11). Cf. Muir (2005). 37. Augustine, Confessions 3.4.8. 38. Bloom (1987, p. 21). 39. Pangle (1992, p. 1). Cf. Collins (2015). 40. Prince, Ch. 9. 41. The use of plainly heteronomous educational practices as means to compel heteronomous conformity to “liberal autonomy” (i.e. liberal beliefs) has a recurrent and, as one might expect, a rhetorically convoluted place in the history of state schooling, e.g. Kalinin (1976, pp. 223–229); White (1973); Levinson (1999); Levinson (2004). Compare Deneen (2018, p. 6, pp. 12–13, p. 38, p. 124, p. 179). 42. The idea of a “theologico-political” doctrine is a well-established feature of the history of political and educational philosophy. It is especially important in Enlightenment and modern political philosophy, beginning with Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise (see Tanguay 2005; Israel 2010; Meier 2017).



43. Bloom (1987, p. 26). 44. Notable exceptions include scholars cognizant of the value of autonomous education, e.g. Strauss; Bloom (see Muir 1996a), Pangle, Burns and Lawler, and Jenkins et al. 45. The masterpiece describing this betrayal remains Julien Benda’s La Trahison des Clercs. 46. While Isocrates clearly uses a DCD method, he obviously did not give it this name or describe it in Aristotelean terms. 47. In the Sophist Plato referred to “our father Parmenides”, and Hegel observed that, “Parmenides is the beginning of philosophy proper”.

Part 1

Isocrates' Idea of the Nature and Value of Education


Isocrates and the History of Education Educationists vs. Everyone Else

Isocrates is one of the most remarkable and influential figures in the history of human thought. The influence of his ideas in the history of historical writing, rhetoric, the visual arts, music, religion and theology, political science, philosophy and, above all, education in Europe, North America, North Africa and the Middle East are well established and widely known outside Educational Studies. Yet there has been little study of Isocrates' educational ideas in English, 1 and none within Educational Studies, despite the wellestablished and central role these ideas play in the history of educational thought and practice until the present day. As Aron observed, "Cultural traditions are the more imperious for being the less conscious" ,2 and Isocrates is a prime example. Isocrates has been described as "the educator of Europe" ,3 "the father of modern liberal education" ,4 and "one of the greatest educationalists of history" .5 On the basis of the most meticulous analysis of the original sources so far, Henri-Irene Marrou, concluded that The importance of this fact must be emphasized from the beginning. On the level of history Plato had been defeated: he had failed to impose his educational ideal on posterity. It was Isocrates who defeated him, and who became the educator first of Greece, and subsequently of the whole of the ancient world. 6 Historians of Roman education agreed, arguing that, "in comparison to Plato or Aristotle, the educational program of Isocrates demands closer attention: partly for its intrinsic interest, partly because of its immense and abiding influence on Greco-Roman education" .7Curtius observes that "Despite sporadic theoretical opposition, Isocrates' standpoint remained authoritative in practice for the whole of antiquity". 8 As the influence of Christianity rose in the remains of the Roman Empire, Julian the Apostate sought to counter their intellectual prestige by arguing that the pagans had been wiser than anyone in the Christian Bible. As an example of wise pagans, however, he explicitly chooses two poets and Isocrates rather than Plato or Aristotle:


Isocrates' Idea of Education

Is their "wisest" man Solomon at all comparable with Phocylides or Theognis or Isocrates? Certainly not. At least, if one were to compare the exhortations with Solomon's proverbs, you would, I am very sure, find that [Isocrates] the son of Theodorus is superior to their "wisest" king. 9 The dominance of the educational thought and practices of Isocrates continued throughout the Middle Ages and in to the Renaissance. 1 Knowles emphasized that


Great and permanent, even in this field, as was the influence of the two philosophers [Plato and Aristotle], the victory and the future lay with Isocrates. 11 During the Renaissance of the 15th century, the European recovery of the Greek texts of Plato and Aristotle initiated a renewal of the classical conflict in educational thought between the Socratic philosophers and the Isocratic rhetors, 12 but it was the Isocratic idea of education which emerged triumphant over the Socratic in practice, and it remained the more influential idea of education well into the 18th century. As Powell noted: Although Plato is better known and more highly regarded today, Isocrates had a much greater influence than his rival during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and down into modern times, for until the eighteenth century education in most European schools was based on his principles. 13 Generations of classical scholars and historians of educational thought have argued that Isocrates' educational ideas were-and still are-more influential in the history of educational thought and practice than those of any other classical thinker, from 3rd century BC until well into the 18th century and the beginnings of contemporary state schooling. The influence of Isocrates' educational ideas continues to this day. "Throughout education's history, [Isocrates] this schoolmaster of antiquity had a profound and permanent influence upon the curriculum and purpose of secondary schools" .14 As Marrou carefully argued, Isocrates' ideas and the system of education which put them into practice reigned virtually unchallenged in Western Europe almost to our own generation [i.e. 1984]. 15 Practical problems in (state) schooling, such as class inequality, gender inequality, the low status of teachers, difficulties faced by non-traditional students, curricular (over-) specialization and the marginalization of vocational education have been traced directly to the continuing influence of Isocrates. 16 Hadas summarized the consensus of four generations of classicist scholarship in the history of education when he concluded that

Isocrates and the History of Education


It was the program of Isocrates which has shaped European education to this day, which has kept humanism alive, and which has given Western civilization such unity as it possesses. 17 There are fewer historical facts better established and more widely known that the unequaled influence of Isocrates in the entire history of educational philosophy, ideas, policy and practice, from classical antiquity to the present day. It is astonishing, then, educationist philosophers of education rarely mention Isocrates, and some claim that educational philosophy simply has no history prior to the c. 1750. 18 To mention only a few major reference sources and encyclopedia articles by educationists and philosophers, such as those by Dewey (1913a), Ulich (1954), Castle (1961), Curtis and Boultwood (1965), Nakosteen (1965), Baskin (1966), Boyd (1966), Garner and Cohen (1967), Price (1967), Lucas (1971) Hirst (1971), Bowen (1972), Kaminsky (1993), Cooney et al. (1993), Noddings (1995), Gutek (1995), Curren (1998a), Palmer (2001), Murphy (2005), Cahn (2001), Dupuis and Gordon (2010), Gutek (1997), Bailey et al. (2010), Cahn (2009, Gutek (2010, Mulcahy (2012), Johnson and Reed (2011 ), Brooke and Frazer (2013) and The Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory provide no discussion of Isocrates' educational ideas and influence, and few mention him at all. Most tellingly of all, not one of these historical texts examines (or even refers to) any historical evidence or scholarship concerning the nature and influence of the educational thought of Isocrates. 19 The striking differences between educationist accounts of the history of educational philosophy and the accounts produced by scholars in all other disciplines raise a number of questions. The primary question is, of course, how it could be that educationists' accounts of the history of educational philosophy-the very discipline they claimed to have originated and then made primarily their own-could contain so many and such large omissions and elementary errors? How could it be that well-researched histories of educational thought written by classicists, philosophers, historians of ideas and others all emphasized the unequaled influence of Isocrates while educationists rarely mentioned him, never discussed his educational ideas and, indeed, gave every indication of being unaware of his existence? There are many causes of such differences between non-educationist vs. educationist historical scholarship, but all of them are variants of deficient historiography: conforming to the institutional origins of their specialty, educationists define education as states schooling, 20 and then assert that educational philosophy cannot have a history older than state schooling; 21 educationists wrongly assumed that the greatest figures in the history of educational philosophy must be the greatest figures in the history of ethics or epistemology, and consequently ignored the many major educational philosophers who were not ethicists or epistemologists; educationists deferred to the authority of the "general philosopher", a non-existent creature wholly of their own invention; 22 educationists conformed to what they claimed was a "consensus" concerning the history of


Isocrates' Idea of Education

educational philosophy, but provided no evidence that such a consensus was supported by historical evidence or, indeed, that a consensus existed at all;23 and finally, far too many educationists' came to philosophy and the history of philosophy with no formal education in either subject. 24 What all these causes have in common-the unifying cause of the inadequacies of educationist accounts of the history of educational philosophy-is indifference (sometimes distain) toward historical evidence, historical scholarship and even the minimal requirements of historiography and argumentation: for educationists, the question was not what the history of educational is given the evidence, but what it must be given their assumptions.

Evidence vs. Assumptions: Hirst's History of the Liberal Arts The historical pronouncements of P.H. Hirst provide an example of how such assumptions have caused deficient educationist historiography 25 • Hirst assumed that educational philosophy must have originated with the (currently) canonical Athenian philosophers, and so asserted that liberal education and the liberal arts originate with Aristotle. 26 The only evidence offered in support of this assertion is a fragment from Aristotle's Politics, which Hirst extracts from Burnet's 1903 textbook. If we examine the complete primary text rather than fragments in a textbook, we see that Aristotle is not enunciating the principles of liberal education for the first time as Hirst claims. 27 On the contrary, Aristotle is discussing the desirability of such an education, 28 the principles of which he clearly states were first enunciated by Hippias of Elis almost a century earlier. 29 Thus Hirst claims that Aristotle is the originator while Aristotle himself explicitly says that he is not. Hirst is also wrong to assume that what he calls "liberal education" was passed from classical Greece to European educational thought and practice by Plato and Aristotle. On the contrary, the evidence shows that In view of the towering position which Plato occupies in the history of western thought and the prestige which attaches to the word philosophy, it might be supposed that his was the school which affected subsequent educational theory most powerfully: actually it was Isocrates' program which prevailed. 30 Contrary to Hirst's historical assertions, it has long been established that the program of liberal arts education was not invented by Aristotle, and it has been quite well-known for decades that such education was passed into the history of educational thought largely in the form given to it by Isocrates and those influenced by his legacy. Hirst's claims are directly contradicted by the widely known and easily available historical scholarship of several generations of historians of educational thought. 31 Specifically,Hirst asserts that the liberal arts, defined as a trivium comprising grammar, logic and rhetoric, and a quadrivium comprising arithmetic, geometry,

Isocrates and the History of Education


music and astronomy, was devised by "the Greeks and the Romans" .32 He also asserts that liberal arts education defined by the trivium and quadrivium was for centuries "regarded as the finest possible, and it was not until medieval times that liberal studies suffered any challenge at all". 33 These historical claims could not be more wrong; indeed, Hirst's claims are the opposite of what both the historical evidence and generations of historical scholarship have already told us. As I shall show in detail the next two paragraphs, the liberal arts were not in fact divided into the trivium and quadrivium by "the Greeks" or by "the Romans", but by medieval African and European educators. It has been well established and widely known for centuries that the trivium and the quadrivium were not challenged in the medieval period, as Hirst claims, but originated in the Middle Ages and remained authoritative in medieval education until the Renaissance of the 15th century. 34 The division of the liberal arts into seven, and the names trivium and quadrivium did not originate with "the Greeks" and "the Romans"; indeed, given the diversity of Greek and Roman educational thought, those terms are so general that they are quite meaningless as historical denotations. 35 On the contrary, both the division of the liberal arts into two groups, and the naming of each group, occurred in the medieval period centuries after "the Greeks and Romans". The medieval North African educator Martianus Capella (fl. 410-29) was probably the first to establish the number of arts at seven, and to divide them into two (unnamed) groups. This tradition of liberal arts education did not derive from Aristotle in the way that Hirst claims, but from Isocrates. As Cook and Herzman note: Following a classical tradition that can be traced back as far as Isocrates in the fourth century B.c., Martian us divides the seven [liberal arts] into two groups: the trivium, consisting of grammar, rhetoric, and logic; and the quadrivium, consisting of music, astronomy, arithmetic and geometry. 36 Although Martianus set the number of liberal arts at seven, and divided them into a group of three language arts and a group of four mathematical arts, the names of divisions were devised much later. Boethius formalized the division which originated with Martianus, and named the four mathematical arts the quadrivium. As Katzenellenbogen noted, it was Boethius who, early in the sixth century, had given structure to the system of the Liberal Arts. He called the four mathematical disciplines (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy) the Quadrivium .... The three other Arts were accordingly termed Trivium from Carolingian times. 37 The Seven Liberal Arts were transmitted in this somewhat unsatisfactory form, half named and half unnamed, until their definitive form was finally


Isocrates' Idea of Education

established during the Carolingian Renaissance. It was the Carolingian educator Alcuin who, seems to have originated the division of the seven arts which became standard in the later middle ages, separating off the four mathematical subjects, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music, into the quadrivium, and making the literary trivium of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic into the basic course. 38 Contrary to Hirst's assertions, the division of the Liberal Arts originates with Martianus Capella, the term quadrivium originates with Boethius in the 6th century AD, and the trivium was first so named during the Carolingian Renaissance of the 8th century. 39 Contrary to Hirst's assertion that the trivium and quadrivium were invented by "the Greeks and Romans", Aristotelian in nature and first challenged in the medieval period, it is in fact widely known in historical scholarship that they were first codified and named in the medieval period, Isocratic in nature and unknown in those terms to the Greeks and Romans. Hirst's historical claims are wrong in every particular, and were plainly contrary to both the primary evidence and the findings of generations of earlier historians of educational thought. Professor Hirst's discussion of the subsequent history of liberal education only perpetuates his original errors and omissions, and in particular neglects the continuing centrality of the educational ideas of Isocrates. His next claim, once again made without reference to any historical evidence, is that, With Renaissance humanism and the rediscovery of classical literature, the full significance of Aristotelian liberal education was temporarily reaffirmed. 40 Once again, Hirst's claims are contrary to both the historical evidence and contemporary historical scholarship. The distinguished historian of this period, A.G. Dickens, has written-in a text used for high school history during the years Hirst was Professor of Education-the Renaissance humanist educational program was deduced from the educational legacy of Isocrates, and explicitly opposed to Aristotelianism: The specific influences at work were neither Plato nor Aristotle, but rather Plutarch's tract on the upbringing of children, Cicero on the training of the orator, above all Quintilian's Education of the Orator . ... From the work of these men sprang a lasting ideal of liberal education, one which has dominated the schools of the privileged classes in Western countries. 41 Plutarch, Cicero and Quintilian all adopt the Isocratic idea of liberal education in conscious opposition to Plato and Aristotle. 42 As Adamson has observed, it is clear in Book One of Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria that

Isocrates and the History of Education


the purposes which Quintilian had in view and the manner in which he thought to attain them, namely by an appropriate training in rhetoric, are in substance the purpose and method of Isocrates. 43 Cicero's Republic and Laws are modeled on Plato's dialogs of the same titles, but are intended to provide an Isocratic alternative to them, substituting Isocrates' learned orator for Plato's philosopher-king. 44 The importance of the educational writings of Isocrates in Renaissance humanism and educational philosophy is widely known and welldocumented outside Educational Studies, but ignored by (or unknown to) Hirst. As classicists Mirhady and Too observed, Isocrates' two works: To Nicocles and Nicocles are especially significant texts in the history of education. In the Renaissance, they were translated into Latin, English, French, and German as paradigms for the genre known as the "instruction of princes". 45

If we narrow our focus to the history of educational ideas in Renaissance England specifically, we see even more clearly how Hirst's historical assertions are contrary to the historical evidence and generation of historical scholarship. For example, while Hirst asserts that Renaissance humanism was an affirmation of "Aristotelian" liberal education, Tudor and Elizabethan humanists affirmed the Isocratic tradition in education in explicit opposition to the "Aristotelianism". As Shepherd argued, In seeking to dethrone Aristotle the humanists reasserted the cause of Isocrates and the old rhetoricians. 46 This predominance of the educational legacy of Isocrates is not surprising, and evidence of it is plain to anyone who examines the primary texts. The educational ideas of Renaissance humanism were brought to England by Erasmus, whose educational treatise, The Education of a Christian Prince, was explicitly written in imitation of Isocrates. 47 Indeed, Erasmus appended his own Latin translation of Isocrates' To Nicocles to the published editions of his educational treatise. The first classical text to be translated from the Greek into English was Isocrates' To Nicocles. 48 The translator, Sir Thomas Elyot, also wrote the first and most influential humanist educational treatise in English, The Bake Named the Governor (1531), explicitly in the Isocratic tradition. 49 Francis Bacon's educational treatise is based on an explicit rejection of Aristotle, and advocates a combination of scientific education and the Isocratic tradition of rhetorical education. 50 Renaissance humanism in England self-consciously reaffirmed the technical instructions and moral insistences from an unbroken line of rhetoricians stretching back through the humanists to Quintilian, Cicero and Isocrates. 51


Isocrates' Idea of Education

Hirst's historical assertions is not only unsupported by any historical evidence, but is directly contradicted by both the primary texts and generations of historical scholarship. He also omits some of the most influential educational philosophers in history, especially Isocrates. Yet more accurate and complete accounts of the history of liberal education were easily available to Hirst in well-known scholarly and popular texts, and were widely known outside the enclaves of Educational Studies.

Chapter 2: Preliminary Logical Structures and Normative Questions Educational philosophy has a rich and continuous history from classical Greek antiquity until the present day, and in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and derivatively in North America, Australia and elsewhere. 52 Four philosophical questions have defined the history of educational philosophy and ideas throughout its entire history: Question 1: the axiomatic question, what is the logical structure of education? Question 2: the formal question, is it the nature of education to be autonomous, or to be subordinate to other enterprises (especially religion and politics)? Question 3: the methodological question, what normative method(s) ought to be used to articulate and justify a claim about what the value of education ought to be? Question 4: the normative question, what ought to be the normative principles of conduct and the value of education (or, what is education valuable for)? The intention of first two parts of this book is to articulate Isocrates' answers to these questions, and the effects of his answers in the history of educational thought and practice. The intention is not to provide an exhaustive account of Isocrates' political and educational philosophy, and their historical influence, a task which will require many book-length discussions. 53 My argument is limited to Isocrates' ideas about what the value of formal education ought to be, and to his rhetorical and dialogical curriculum as a marker that can be used to identify and trace the path of Isocrates' normative ideas through the history of educational thought, policy and practice. Isocrates' ideas about the nature and value of education are not always presented in a systematic way, or using terminology in common usage today. Consequently it will be helpful to articulate some of the main parts of his educational philosophy schematically, in order to provide a template which can guide and organize my articulation of his more elaborate arguments. Isocrates' argument about what the value of education ought to be has three distinct but inseparable primary parts: (1) the logical structure of education, (2) the nature of education or its necessary relation to other human

Isocrates and the History of Education


enterprises and (3) the normative method(s) to be used to articulate and then justify normative judgments about the goals and value of education.

Question 1: The Logical Structure of Education An articulation of the logical structure of formal education is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive of the whole of educational philosophy, policy and practice. The logical structure specifies the minimum composite, that is, the parts and relations between the parts that must be present if there is to be formal education at all. It does not specify everything-every idea, every nuance of practice-that can be present in formal education, only what must be present. It also does not specify the normative criteria of the practices and goals of formal education, which requires different methods which will be articulated below. The universal logical structure of formal education can be articulated with reference to the following nine-part schematic:

(6) Belief/knowledge I 1----------► (7) Skills 1----------►

(3) Content transmitted T➔ S (1) Teacher ---------------------------► (2) Student


◄--------------------------- 4)

(5) Mode(s) of transmission, e.g. teaching methods.

I 1----------►

(8) Moral


'' '' '' '


(9) Mode of delivery of education (There must be a mode of delivery, but no specific mode is logically necessary. These modes include initiation by elders, state schooling, private schooling, private tutor, religious schooling, home education, apprenticeship and more.) As this schematic suggests, the universal logical structure of formal education consists of nine parts that must always be present in any formal educational practice, and of the necessary relations between those parts. It is universally the case that formal education must consist of at least nine parts: (1) a teaching agent, (2) a learning agent, (3) the content that is transmitted from the teaching agent to the learning agent, (4) content that is transmitted from the student to the teacher (sometimes only in the form of test results), (5) the means or methods of such transmission, e.g. teaching methods, evaluation methods, (6) the knowledge or beliefs, (7) skills and (8) moral dispositions that the learning agent is expected to acquire as a result of such methods and the transmission of such content, and (9) the institution(s) in which all of this will occur. All formal education must have these nine elements in some relation to one another: this is the universal logical structure of formal education, and it is recognized by Isocrates and consequently by educational philosophers in history however rarely it is formally articulated.


Isocrates' Idea of Education

The logical structure of education describes what education is: what parts all formal educational practice must have, and what the relations between those parts must be in all educational practice. It is not possible to have formal education without a teaching agent, or without content-information, skills, sentiments, moral habits-being transmitted from the teaching agent to the learning agent, or without methods by which that content is transmitted, and so on. The logical structure of education, however, does not and cannot describe or provide a logical basis for normative judgments about what the conduct, goals and value of education ought to be. The logical necessity that formal education must transmit content cannot specify what that content ought to be, or by what methods or according to what ethical limits it is to be transmitted, or what the value of that content ought to be for the learning agent. The logical structure of education implies no criterion of value, and it implies no normative method by which that value can be defined and justified. The articulation and justification of criteria of value requires specific normative methods and modes of argumentation distinct from the logical structure of education. My argument is concerned with what the value of education ought to be, and especially with the criteria and justification of specific goals of education. What are normative criteria we employ when we claim that literacy is a valuable goal of formal education, and by what normative method do we justify that claim? There are also, of course, important normative judgments that must be made about the ethical criteria of practice which determine how education ought to be conducted, e.g. whether corporal punishment is permitted. I should emphasize that my argument, however, is focused only normative arguments concerning the goals and value of education, and not directly with ethical criteria of day-to-day practice. Normative judgments about the goals and value of education have two distinct but inseparable parts: (1) judgments about the nature of education, specifically whether education is subordinate or autonomous, and (2) judgments about the logical structure of the methods used to articulate and justify normative propositions. I will examine each of these in turn.

Question 2: The Nature of Education: Is the Nature of Education Autonomous or Subordinate? Normative methodology in education is inseparable from the question of whether education is a subordinate enterprise or an autonomous enterprise. To say that education is subordinate is to say that the goals and conduct of education are subordinate to another, more important enterprise. Specifically, it is to say that education ought to be valued primarily as a means to be used to attain the goals of that other enterprise. The enterprises to which education is most often subordinated are religion and politics (which must include economics) or some combination of them. During some historical periods and in some places today, education is subordinated to religion, and consequently valued primarily as a means by which students are provided with the knowledge, skills and moral dispositions required by faith and lawful righteousness as defined by theologico-political doctrine. In other times and places education

Isocrates and the History of Education


is subordinated to politics, and consequently valued primarily as a means by which students are provided with the knowledge, skills and moral dispositions required by justice defined by political doctrine. Whenever and wherever education is subordinate to some other enterprise, all nine components of the logical structure of education will be defined relative to that enterprise. The assumption that education is essentially subordinate to the goals, methods and doctrine of other enterprises can be schematically articulated as follows: Enterprise



Normative Method



political doctrine



theological doctrine

(1) Education Subordinate to Religion (2) Education Subordinate to Politics

faith and/or righteousness

theological or theologicalpolitical doctrine political doctrine

conditional deduction: from political doctrine to policy conditional deduction: from theological doctrine to practices DCD (see below)


DCD (see below)

Whenever it is assumed that formal education must be or ought to be subordinate to other enterprises, education will be a means by which the goal(s) of the logically prior and presumptively more important enterprise. Moreover, all nine parts of the logical structure of education will be defined and normatively practiced in accordance with the prior enterprise. For example, if education is subordinate to political doctrine, then education will be practiced as a means to attain political justice as defined by an axiomatic political doctrine; if education is subordinate to theological-political doctrine, then education will be practiced as a means to attain faith and righteousness as defined by an axiomatic political doctrine. The next question, then, concerns the specific method to be used to derive the normative goals and principles of education from the criteria of the enterprise to which it is subordinated.

Question 3: Normative Method in Education: The Dominance of Doctrinal Conditional Deduction

If it is assumed that it is the nature of education to be subordinate to other enterprises, then the goals and value of education must be articulated and justified by doctrinal conditional deduction (DCD). The normative method DCD is a species of the genus conditional deduction (CD), perhaps one of the most common modes and best known of reasoning in all practical subjects. DCD is a mode of CD in which the axiom of the deduction is a doctrine; in normative judgments such doctrines are often political, religious, or theologico-political, such that normative judgments are deduced from political principles or Revealed Law. Not surprisingly, CD is widely understood to be a central part


Isocrates' Idea of Education

of the study of logic,54 especially the logic of normative judgment, and an indispensable part of the history of philosophy and all philosophical education. 55 The importance of DCD in other disciplines related to education has also long been recognized, 56 and the near universality of DCD as the primary normative method in educational philosophy and normative judgments in education generally was widely and explicitly discussed in educational scholarship from the early 1900s until the present. 57 The (astonishing) exception is contemporary educational philosophy within Educational Studies: educationists have reached a nadir of methodological sophistication and self-awareness, asserting (but not arguing) that educational philosophy need not and even should not study methodology at all lest it fall into "methodolotry" ,58 or anachronistically re-asserting without argument that "everyone knows" that educational philosophy is somehow "derived from" (that is, conditionally deduced from) epistemology or ethics. 59 One consequence of this is that although almost all educational philosophers habitually use DCD method to make normative judgments about the value of education, no educationist educational philosopher in this century has provided even the simplest articulation of it, to say nothing of a detailed explication and defense. The use of DCD to deduce the normative criteria of all nine parts of the logical structure of formal education from political doctrine is the presumptive normative method of educationist educational philosophy, unarticulated and now largely unrecognized, partly as consequence of habit, partly as consequence of the abandonment of the study of both formal logic and the history of philosophy. 60 While DCD in education has a universal structure, it must be applied in a mode relative to a particular doctrinal commitment. Whenever adherents of any political doctrine argue that the value of education ought to be deduced from their doctrine-whenever someone advocates monotheistic or atheist or neoliberal or democratic or feminist or patriarchal or conservative or progressive or communitarian education-they are using exactly the same method of DCD, and they are using it in exactly the same way. Each of these doctrinal constituencies begins with a commitment to their own particular political doctrine, and conditionally deduces from it what the value of education ought to be: if one begins with a commitment to feminism, then one deduces from feminism what the valuable feminist teacher, feminist curriculum, feminist aims, feminist teaching methods and so on ought to be; on the other hand, if one begins from a commitment to conservatism, then one deduces from conservatism what the valuable conservative teacher, conservative curriculum, conservative aims, conservative teaching methods and so on ought to be. The political doctrines and educational prescriptions differ but the DCD normative method is identical in all cases.

Unifying the Subordinate Nature of Education and DCD Normative Method Taken together, the assumptions that education is subordinate and that the value of education must articulated by the use of DCD normative method in education proceeds as follows:

Isocrates and the History of Education


Step 1 (Question 1): the logical structure of education, in nine parts. '' '' '' '


Step 2 (Question 2): assumption about the universally subordinate nature of education: that education ought to be subordinate to more important enterprises, such as political and religion, and therefore that education is a valued as a means to attain the goals of those enterprises (such as justice or faith).

Step 3 (Question 3): assumption about the universal normative methodology: DCD is the normative method of educational judgment, in the sense that the value of education is conditionally deduced from political doctrine and/or religious doctrine.

Step 4: selection of a relative Political Doctrine (a definition of justice and the means to it) as the axiom of normative judgment.

I Examples of such relative doctrines (some of which may be combined with one another) include




Capitalism or


Conservatism or



Feminism or



Theologico-political doctrine or




Step 5 (Question 4): application of the method of doctrinal conditional deduction to all nine components of formal education. ''

'' '' y'

(6) Belief/knowledge I 1------------► (7) Skills 1------------►

(3) Content transmitted T ➔ S (1) Teacher ---------------------------► (2) Student ◄---------------------------


(5) Mode(s) of transmission, e.g. teaching methods.



Mode of delivery

I 1------------►

(8) Moral



Isocrates' Idea of Education

The Historical Results for Normative Method of Defining Education as State Schooling It is too often forgotten that Departments or Schools of Educational Studies were introduced (and sometimes imposed) into the universities by government, and with the limited and subordinate task of supporting and advocating state schooling 61 rather than seeking knowledge of the nature and value of education. As a consequence of these institutionally prescribed limitations, educationists rhetorically define education as state schooling, 62 in effect using the two terms as synonyms, although state schooling is only one option at Part 9 of the logical structure alone. Whenever education is defined as state schooling in this way, DCD is the only normative method possible: if education is state schooling, then the value of education must be "relative to" the political doctrine and political goals of the state. Consequently, the normative goals of state schooling have been relative to liberal democracy in some countries, relative to Marxism in other countries, and relative to theologico-political doctrine in other countries. Defining education as state schooling consequently limits both the clarity and the diversity of normative methods that can be considered in two ways. First, the rhetorical equivocation between education and state schooling reduces the clarity of normative methodology because the phrase "relative to" is merely a vague and rhetorical expression of the actual conditionally deductive logical method: the goals of education are "relative to" political doctrine only in the sense that the goals and value of education are deduced from an axiomatic political doctrine held by those with power in the state (though not always those in government). For example, the criteria of the value of education are not "relative to" liberal democracy, but rather, in clearer and more explicitly methodological terms, "conditionally deduced from" liberal democratic political doctrine. The rhetoric of "relativity" vaguely indicates that there is a relation between political goals and the value of education, but fails to specify the methodology which articulates exactly how and why political ideas determine educational ideas. Second, if education is rhetorically defined as state schooling, then it can seem to be logically necessary that the value of education must be "relative to" political doctrines of the state or political parties. Consequently, it wrongly seems logically necessary or inevitable that "education" must be valued as a means to attain political goals such as justice or equality or rights. There is no such necessity however. This is clear if we actually study non-Western educational thought and established institutions, and examine (as an example) Taliban madrasas in Afghanistan or parts of Pakistan. 63 If we do this we first discover that education is not assumed to be state schooling, indeed, that it is argued that education should not be state schooling, in part because it is believed that education ought to be valued as a means to faith and religious righteousness regardless of who is in government. It is easy to dismiss such normative differences with the simplistic trope that "education is an

Isocrates and the History of Education


essentially contested concept", but this trope is merely the rhetorical expression of the self-contradictory claim that education is essentially contested precisely because there is an uncontested and presumptively universal conception of education: it is assumed (1) that is incontestably and universally true that the nature of education is to be subordinate to a prior and more important enterprise, politics or religion in these cases, and consequently (2) that it is incontestably and universally true that the value of education is deduced from (or, rhetorically expressed, "relative to") the political and/or religious doctrine that prevails. The claim that "education is essentially contested" is a rhetorical expression of the claim that education is essentially and incontestably a subordinate enterprise to be valued as a means to the goals of other enterprises, and as such is a logical paradox until expressed in explicitly logical and methodological terms. An examination of the educational thought of Isocrates and its historical influences will help us do just that.

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Muir (1998); Muir (2005); Power (1965, p. 69). Raymond Aron (1968, p. 72). Newman (1975, p. 358). Proussis (1965, p. 74). Knowles (1962, p. 60). Marrou (1948, p. I, 292); cf. 128. My translation. Gwynn (1926); cf. Marrou (1984, p. 201); Bolgar (1954, p. 28); Colish (1997, p. 5); Good and Teller (1969, p. 29); Grube (1965, p. 38, p. 41, p. 45); Gwynn (1964, p. 46); Kennedy (1980, p. 31). Curtius (1953, pp. 36-37). Contra Galilaeos 224-224d. Muir (1995); Clarke (1971, p. 2); Finley (1975, p. 199); cf. Hadas (1962, p. 172); Marrou (1948, p. 128). Muir (1995); Clarke (1971, p. 2); Finley (1975, p. 199); cf. Hadas (1962, p. 172); Marrou (1948, p. 128). Breen (1952, pp. 384-426); Curtius (1953); Sidney (1973, p. 20). Powell (2002, p. 1). Cf. Good and Teller (1969, p. 30). Power (1991, p. 44). Marrou (1984, p. 200); cf. Finley (1975, p. 208); Good and Teller (1969, p. 29); Hadas (1962, p. 103); Jaeger (1947, p. III, p. 46); Kimball (1986, p. 11); Knowles (1988, p. 55); Powell (2002); Welch (1999, Ch. 2). e.g. Finley (1975); Hadas (1962, pp. 62-63, p. 103); Power (1962, p. 102); Welch (1999, Ch. 2). Hadas (1969, p. 129); cf. Laistner (19576, p. 44 7). White 2004, Muir 2005. Peters mentions Isocrates once: he asserts that Isocrates and Plato were advocates of "professionalism" and "specialization" rather than "versatility" in education (Peters 1977, p. 21, p. 76). He provides no argument or evidence for these claims. Yet after knowledge of Isocrates' legacy in educational philosophy was recovered by my earlier papers (e.g. Muir 2005; Marsh 2010; Marsh 2012; Burke 2013; Mintz 2016), Peters' followers miraculously discovered that his educational project was grounded on an improbable union of Isocrates and 17th Century "liberalism" all along (e.g. Degenhardt 2010, p. 125). No evidence



21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.


32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

Isocrates' Idea of Education is provided for this assertion, Peters never makes any such claim and it is directly contradicted by Peters' superficial single mention of Isocrates. See Biesta (2014, p. 70). Richardson (1999a, p. 2-3, pp. 11-14, pp. 25-26); Richardson (19996, pp. 110111, p. 118, pp. 121-122); Tibble (1966, pp. 10-26); Lawn and Furlong (2009); Kaminsky (1993); Johnson (1995); Labarre (2004); Fraser (2007, Ch. 3): Labaree (2005, p. 286). e.g. White (2004). Muir (19966); Muir (2003); Muir 2005; Muir (2015). Muir (2003); Muir (2005). Harris (1983, p. 201); Koerner (1963); Johnson (1995, p. 39); Reid (1962, p. xiii); Peters (1977, p. 90); Muir (2005). Hirst's historical claims were uncritically repeated as recently as Mulcahy, D.G. (2012) "Liberal Education", in Arthur, J., Peterson, A. (eds.) (2012) The Routledge Companion to Education. New York: Routledge, p. 3. Hirst (1971, p. 500, p. 506). Politics (13376, pp. 4-22). Politics (13376, pp. 14-17). Curtius (1953, pp. 36-37); Defourny (1920); Lasserre (1966); Simpson (1998, p. 258). Hadas (1962, p. 30). Cf. Colish (1997, p. 5); Curtius (1953, p. 37); Finley (1975, p. 198); Hadas (1969, p. 171); Howatson (1989, p. 204 ); Kennedy (1980, p. 35); Knowles (1962, p. 61); Knowles (1988, pp. 54-55); Marrou (1984, p. 200); Wimsatt and Brooks (1957, p. 74 ). I presented an earlier version of this argument at a conference, and the following objection was raised: that I provide no valid criticism of Hirst's historical claims because I assume a definition of "liberal education" different from Hirst's. As so often happens with this sort of evasive rhetoric, the "difference" was not explained. In fact, my argument depends on comparing Hirst's claims to the evidence he provides for his own claims, and then comparing both to the historical evidence and historical scholarship. Hirst (1971, p. 506). Hirst (1971, p. 506). Drabble (1985, p. 802, pp. 1000-1001); Howatson (1989, p. 519); Kennedy (1992, p. 284); Proussis (1965, p. 74); Rand (1928, p. 230). Knowles (1962, p. 73); Rand (1928, pp. 229-230). Cook and Herzman (1983, p. 155); cf. Knowles (1962, p. 73); Kristeller (1965, p. 173); Marenbon (1994, p. 173). Katzenellenbogen (1966, p. 41). Heer (1961, p. 184). Cf. Rashdall (1936, Vol. 1, 34 n. 2). Clarke (1971, p. 4); Curtius (1953, p. 37); Kimball (1986, p. 14, p. 51); Laistner (1957a, p. 41); Marrou (1984, p. 190); Oakley (1979, p. 49). Hirst (1971, p. 507). Dickens (1972, pp. 24-25). Cf. Hadas (1962, p. 68); Seigel (1968, pp. 141-143); Kennedy (1980, p. 196); Kimball (1986, p. 222); Knowles (1988, p. 55); Bauman (1998, p. 8). Curtius (1953, p. 37); Finley (1975, p. 199); Good and Teller (1969, p. 30); Grube (1965, p. 41, n. 2); Hadas (1962, pp. 37-38, p. 53); Halliwell (1997, p. 107); Kennedy (1980, p. 31); Oakley (1979, p. 48). Adamson (1922, p. 96). Cf. Kennedy (1980, p. 271). Hubbell (1914); Kimball (1986, p. 33); Wimsatt and Brooks (1957, p. 65, p. 74). Mirhady and Too (2000, p. 138, n. 2); cf. Highet (1949, pp. 122-123). Sidney (1973, p. 20).

Isocrates and the History of Education


47. Erasmus (1986, Vol. 27, pp. 203-204); cf. Kimball (1986, p. 88); Oberman (1975, p. 61); Rummel (1985, pp. 104-105); Tracy (1978, p. 62, p. 66). 48. Elyot (1962, p. viii); Lathrop (1933, p. 41); Lehmberg (1960, pp. 125-126). 49. Bush (1939, p. 79); Kinghorn (1971, p. 92); Rollins and Baker (1954, p. 106). 50. Bacon (1861, p. 147 ff). 51. Sidney (1973, p. 45). 52. Gamble (2007); Muir (2005); Kimball (1986). 53. Non-educationists have been at work on this task for several decades, from Marrous and Jaeger to, most recently, Too (1995); Poulakos (1997); Poulakos and Depew (2004); Walker (2011); Wareh (2012); Collins (2015). 54. Josang et al. (2005); Calabrese (1990). 55. See Cappelen et al. (2016); Howell (2013); Daly (2010); Gilbert (1960). 56. E.g. Stalnaker (1981, pp. 107-128); Jonathan, et al. (2015); Muir (2014); Muir (2015). 57. Nordenbo (1979, pp 433-459, p. 433); Evers (1993, pp. 35-45); Lucas (1969); Burns (1962, pp. 53-63 ); Kneller (1962, pp. 34-4 7, p. 34); Stanley (1958, p. 12); Dielt (1954, pp. 1-3). 58. Ruitenberg (2009, p. 316-317)= Ruitenburg 2010, p. 2; Bridges and Smith (2006); Heyting (2001, pp. 1-2, 8); Lawn and Furlong (2009); Meens (2013, p. 370); Johnson (1995, p. 30); Oancea and Bridges (2009, p. 561); Meens (2013, p. 370); Standish (2007); Standish (2009); Richardson (19996, p. 127); Smith (2009, p. 437). 59. E.g. Heyting et al. (2001). 60. Muir (2005). 61. Dewey (1897, My Pedagogical Creed, Article 2); Hanus (1905, p. 225); Feinberg and Odeshoo (2000, p. 289); Biesta (2014, pp. 68-70); Herbst (1989); Herbst (1999, p. 747); Scheffler (1960, p. 3); Reid (1962, xiii, xiv); Phenix (1964, p. x); Dearden (1971, p. 80); Moore (1982, p. 14); Moore (1982, p. 7); Biesta (2014, p. 68); Barrow and Wood (2006, p. xv, p. 1, p. 9, p. 12); Standish (2007, p. 162, p. 169); Burbules (2002, p. 259, pp. 354-355). 62. E.g. Labaree (2005, p. 286), referring to the work of Katz. Cf. Johnson (1995, p. 1, p. 35); Richardson (1999a, p. 2-3, p. 11, pp. 13-14); Richardson (19996); Tibble (1966, pp. 10-26); Lawn and Furlong (2009); Kaminsky (1993); Johnson (1995); Labarre (2004); Fraser (2007, Ch. 3); Johnson (1995, p. 133, p. 160); White (2013, p. 298, p. 300, pp. 301-302); Burbules and Rybeck (2002, p. 15, p 17, p. 20); Biesta (2014, p. 66, p. 68); Mirel (2003, p. 480); Labaree (2005, pp. 276); Labaree (2005, p. 286); Oancea and Bridges (2009, p. 564). 63. e.g. Jamal, M. (1996) Colonialization of Islam: Dissolution of Traditional Institutions in Pakistan. New Delhi: Manohar Publications, and Lahore: Vanguard Ltd. More generally, see Makdis (1981); al-Attas (1979).


The History of the Isocratic Idea of the Nature and Value of Education

Contemporary scholars have held widely divergent views concerning Isocrates' reputation and stature as a political philosopher specifically. On the one hand, classicists such as Burnet, Barker or Andrewes claim, though without argument, that Isocrates is a second-rate political thinker whose writings are mere journalism with philosophical pretensions. 1 On the other hand are philosophers such as Karl Popper, who argue that in the days when [Plato's] Republic was written, there were in Athens only three outstanding men who might have claimed to be philosophers: Antisthenes, Isocrates, and Plato himself. 2 Anticipating and sharing Popper's high regard for Isocrates was the distinguished classicist Gilbert Murray, who described Isocrates' political philosophy as "singularly deep and unprejudiced" .3 Depending on the commentary he or she happens to choose, the student of Isocrates may read that he is among the greatest of political philosophers, or that he is not a political philosopher at all.

Education in the Political Philosophy of Isocrates Tocmfrwv 8' U7WA£AOl7CcV 117COAts fiµmv 7CcpiTO cppovdv Kai A£yctv TOUsUAAODs av8pcimous, cocr8'oi TUDT11s µa811mi T