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“Plowden” at 50—R.S. Peters’ Response to Educational Progressivism

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Abstract

In this chapter, I reconstruct the basic structure of Peters’ analytic response to educational progressivism as politically expressed in the 1967 Plowden Report. The report expressed a particular line of thought in educational theory, namely that of educational progressivism or child-centred education. In the 1960s, Peters introduced the analytic paradigm into the philosophy of education in Great Britain. In the socio-economic context of the 1960s, this new paradigm had some institutional as well as political effects. In particular, Peters’ theoretical response to the Plowden Report in Perspectives on Plowden had a practical influence. The chapter proceeds as follows. After a short historical note and a brief rehearsal of the contrast between progressivism and traditionalism, I detail Peters’ fundamental presuppositions in the light of which his critique of child-centred education can be elucidated. These two main presuppositions are, first, the primacy of the social or the public and, second, the ideal of liberal education. Next, I organise his critique around two central themes: first, education and its aims, and, second, the curriculum and the teacher.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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