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Philosophy at the Institute of Education

Drawing together research and collaboration to examine philosophical approaches in education.

Head of centre: Professor Paul Standish
Operational Director: Dr Jan Derry

Our centre is committed to rigorous exploitation of a variety of philosophical approaches, encompassing such topics as the aims of education, teaching, learning, and the curriculum, democracy, citizenship, philosophy with children, new technology, and the environment.

About us 

Background

Philosophy has been essential to the work of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) since its inception.

When practical questions in education are pursued rigorously, they typically lead to philosophical enquiry, into the nature of knowledge, the characteristics of the just society, and the nature of the good life. But such questions involve not only ethics, epistemology, and politics, but also metaphysical matters, to do with subjectivity, objectivity, and truth.

The Institute has, through the decades, been in the vanguard of the development and dissemination of work in the field. Its Centre for Philosophy draws together research across the range of the IOE as well as showcasing our extensive connections in the field.

Members of the Centre are active in leading international organisations in the field, including:

Our staff

Core Philosophy staff

From Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)

Invited members from across the Institute

  • Ronald Barnett, Department of International and Lifelong Education
  • Lesley Gourlay, Centre for Academic and Professional Literacies
  • Gerald Grace, Centre for Research and Development in Catholic Education
  • Lucy Green, Department for Arts and Humanities
  • David Guile, Department for International and Lifelong Education
  • John Hardcastle, Department for Learning, Curriculum and Communication
  • Jeremy Hayward, Department for Arts and Humanities
  • Ruth Heilbronn, Department for Learning, Curriculum and Communication
  • Claudia Lapping, Department for Learning, Curriculum and Communication
  • Tristan McCowan, Department for International and Lifelong Education
  • Martin Oliver, UCL Knowledge Lab
  • Caroline Pelletier, Department for Learning, Curriculum and Communication
  • Michael Reiss, Department for Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and Science
  • Yvonne Reynolds, Department for Psychology and Human Development
  • David Scott, Department for Learning, Curriculum and Communication
  • Elaine Unterhalter, Department for Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Michael Young, UCL Knowledge Lab

Associate members

Leading members of philosophy and related departments in other universities:

  • Larry Blum, University of Massachusetts
  • Vincent Colapietro, Pennsylvania State University
  • David Cooper, Durham University
  • Andrew Feenberg, Simon Fraser University
  • Professor Larry Hickman, Center for Dewey Studies and Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Michael Luntley, Warwick University
  • Susan Mendus, York University
  • Adrian Moore, Oxford University
  • Daniele Moyal-Sharrock, President, British Wittgenstein Society
  • Adam Swift, Oxford University
  • Ken Westphal, University of East Anglia
  • Meredith Williams, Johns Hopkins University
  • Jonathan Wolff, UCL
 

Study with us 

Programmes

We support research students and training through:

  • The Doctoral School - Research Training Programme, the EdD programme and postdoctoral fellowship
  • Research Days for doctoral students in philosophy of education which are held on a termly basis. These include reading sessions and opportunities for students to present their work.

For more info contact Jan Derry: j.derry@ucl.ac.uk

Master's degrees

Our activities

Research

Examples of research carried out at the centre include:

  • "An evaluation of the use of Philosophy for Children in Southwark primary schools" for Southwark Local Education Authority - Jan Derry, Karen Spence-Thomas and Carol Taylor.
  • "The Morality of School choice; An Exploration of British Social Attitudes" - Sonia Exley and Judith Suissa.
  • "Changing Discourses of the Parent-Child Relationship" - an AHRC funded interdisciplinary seminar series - Judith Suissa and Stefan Ramaekers.
  • "Should patriotism be promoted, tolerated or discouraged in British schools?" - Michael Hand, Director of the Nuffield Foundation project.
  • Philosophy of Technology Enhanced Learning special interest group - Jan Derry.

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