Re-thinking the relevance of philosophy of education for educational policy making

Morwenna Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The overall question addressed in this article is, ‘What kind of philosophy of education is relevant to educational policy makers?’ The article focuses on the following four themes: The meanings attached to the term philosophy (of education) by philosophers themselves; the meanings attached to the term philosophy (of education) by policy makers; the difference place and time makes to these meanings; how these different meanings affect the possibility of philosophy (of education) influencing policy. The question is addressed using philosophical methods and empirical evidence from conversations and conversational interviews with some philosophers of education and other educational researchers. The argument begins with an investigation of different ways of understanding philosophy and philosophy of education in relation to education and educational policy. It then examines first the current policy context and secondly some evidence about the practices of policy makers in relation to ideas and to research. It goes on to present some of the findings from the conversational evidence. The article is drawn together in the penultimate section where I make some suggestions about possible fruitful relationships between doing philosophy and policy making. Finally, in the concluding section, some further—thorny—questions are raised by the analysis, especially in relationship to ethics and social justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-559
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number5
Early online date2 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2014


  • philosophy of education
  • educational policy
  • impact
  • social justice

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