Why, Perhaps, Philosophers of Education (and Other Educational Researchers) “Leave Everything as It Is”



It has long been a complaint of philosophers of education and other educational researchers that, in particular policy makers pay little heed to their arguments and evidence. Equally, policy makers complain that too much educational research is irrelevant or uninformative or fails to dress their concerns. Despite the almost exponential growth in the quantity of educational research, this seems to have little impact, to “leave everything as it is”.

This paper will explore this problem through four lines of thought:
  1. (i)

    by looking at the role of the communicative and social practices that take philosophy and other forms of educational inquiry into practice and policy;

  2. (ii)

    by looking at the logic of arguments that might take us from philosophical work (in particular) to convincing prescriptions for educational policy and practice;

  3. (iii)

    by looking at the controversy and uncertainty that is intrinsic to research endeavour as a barrier to its impact on policy and practice;

  4. (iv)

    by looking at philosophical interest as something detached from engagement with policy or practice.


It will conclude that there are a number of compelling reasons why we should have low expectations of the impact on policy or practice of philosophical and other work characterised and communicated in the ways set out here.


Left Everything Educational Researcher Philosophical Work Paul Smeyers Speculative Doubting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.St Edmund’s CollegeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Homerton CollegeCambridgeUK

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