Drawing together research and collaboration to examine philosophical approaches in education.
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.
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)
- David Bakhurst, Visiting Professor
- Jack Bicker
- Ruth Cigman
- Jan Derry
- Michael Fielding
- Adrian Skilbeck
- Paul Standish
- Judith Suissa
- John Vorhaus
- John White
- Patricia White
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
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, UCL
- Ken Westphal, University of East Anglia
- Meredith Williams, Johns Hopkins University
- Jonathan Wolff, Oxford University
Study with us
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: email@example.com
Our academic staff publish, teach and speak widely on a range of topical educational issues, including:
- the arts and creativity
- character education
- citizenship and belonging
- the humanities
- human rights
- inclusion, disability and special educational needs
- knowledge and the curriculum
- language and translation
- race and racism
- student-teacher relationships.
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.
See details on:
UCL Research Portal, IRIS to find more about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes.
- Public engagement
- Learning in the Crisis: On Rediscovering 'the Social' in the Midst of a Pandemic. Incite seminar, June 27 2020. Presentation by Judith Suissa
- What are we critical with, and what are we hopeful about? Reimagining the university and pedagogies of hope seminar, University of Middlesex, July 16 2020. Presentation by Judith Suissa
- Children, parents, and non-parents: To whom does the future belong? European Research Network About Parents in Education 12th Conference, Poland, 18 - 20 September 2019. Presentation by Judith Suissa
- A Problem for Cognitive Load Theory - the Distinctively Human Life-Form. PESGB Annual Conference 2019. UCL Institute of Education. Keynote by Jan Derry
- An ‘Anarchist Squint’ at Educational Philosophy and Practice. Fifth International Conference on Philosophies of Education and Critical Pedagogy. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, June 2019. Keynote by Judith Suissa
- Interview with Judith Suissa. E-International Relations, 2019
- Knowledge in education: Why philosophy matters, UCL Institute of Education professorial public lecture, 22 May 2018. Lecture by Jan Derry
- No Gods, No Masters: antisemitic tropes and utopian ideals in imagining and resisting the capitalist state. Navigating finance and the imagination walking assembly, 14 April 2018. Presentation by Judith Suissa
- Understanding the use and integration of assistive technology for students with additional needs. University of Edinburgh workshop, 18 June 2018. Presented by Professor Jan Derry
- Democracy, the future and Progressive Education. Common Roots Alternative Education Festival, May 2017. Talk by Judith Suissa
- Nothing but sounds, ink-marks - Is nothing hidden? Must everything be transparent (YouTube video). Danish Philosophy Association Conference, 2017. Keynote lecture by Paul Standish
- 50 years of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. Editor Interviews, 28 February 2017. Interview with John White and Judith Suissa
- Testimony, Holocaust Education and Epistemic Injustice. Winchester Holocaust Education symposium, Feb. 2017. Presentation by Judith Suissa
- Empiricism and the Avoidance of Philosophy (YouTube video). ECER, 2016. Keynote by Paul Standish
- 'Something Animal', in Symposium: Memory, Language, Instinct. British Wittgenstein Society Conference 2018. Keynote lecture by Paul Standish
- Wittgenstein’s Impact on the Philosophy of Education. British Wittgenstein Society Conference 2017. Keynote lecture by Paul Standish
- The Anxiety of Inclusion: Introduction (YouTube video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2016). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Wittgenstein, meaning, and the following of a rule (YouTube video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2016). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Barbara Cassin and Nostalgia: When are we ever at home? (YouTube video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2016). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Cultivating Political Emotions: Some Central Concepts (YouTube video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2015). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Lost in Translation (YouTube video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2014). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Sophie Coppola’s 'Valentine to Tokyo' (YouTube Video). Kyoto International Frontiers of Educational Research (2014). Presentation by Paul Standish
- Derry, J. (2020). A Problem for Cognitive Load Theory-the Distinctively Human Life-form. Journal of Philosophy of Education 54 (1), 5-22. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.12411
- Standish, P. (2020). Lines of Testimony. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 54.2
- Suissa, J. (2020). Oikophobia and not being at home; Educational questions. Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, doi: 10.1080/01596306.2020.1743646
- Suissa, J. (2020). Foreword for new English translation of Nils Christie’s If Schools Didn’t Exist
- Standish, P. (2019). Curiosity, Collecting, Ways of Knowing. in: M. Papastefanou (ed.) Just Curious About Curiosity (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
- Standish, P. (2019). The Educational is Political. Educational Studies in Japan
- Standish, P. (2019). On Being Resolute. in: H. Appelqvist (ed.) Wittgenstein and the Limits of Language, London: Routledge
- Standish, P. (2019). Positing Alterity, Positing Metaphysics: A Short Note on Alistair Miller on Levinas. Journal of Philosophy of Education
- Standish, P. (2019). Disciplining Thought: Between Ideology and Anything Goes. European Educational Research Journal, 18.5, 546-558
- Suissa, J. (2019). Anarchist Education. In C. Levy, M. Adams (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism. Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan
- Suissa, J. (2019). Public Education and Non-statist Imaginaries. FORUM, 61 (2), 225. doi:10.15730/forum.2019.61.2.225
- Suissa, J. (2019). Education and non-domination: reflections from the radical tradition. Studies in Philosophy and Education. doi:10.1007/s11217-019-09662-3
- Suissa, J. and Chetty, D. (2019). Critical Philosophy of Race and Education
- Suissa, J. and Chetty, D. (2019). Critical Philosophy of Race and Education Editorial. Ethics and Education Journal
- Derry, J. (2018). Knowledge in education why philosophy matters. UCL Institute of Education Press
- Herring, C., and Standish, P. (2018) Displacing the one: Dislocated thinking in higher education, in: J. Leigh (ed.) Conversations on Embodiment Across Higher Education: Teaching, Practice and Research, London: Routledge.
- Standish, P. (2018). Rigour and Recoil: Claims of Reason, Failures of Expressiveness. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 52.3
- Saito, N., Standish, P. and Imai, Y. (2018). Honyaku no Sanaka ni Aru Shakai-Seigi (Social Justice in Translation). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press
- Yun, S., and Standish, P. (2018). Technicising Thought: English and the Internationalisation of the University, in S. Smedegaard Bengtsen and R. Barnett (eds), The Thinking University, London: Taylor and Francis
- Derry, J. (2017). An introduction to inferentialism in mathematics education. Mathematics Education Research Journal. doi:10.1007/s13394-017-0193-7
- Suissa, J. (2017). Multiculturalism and Diversity. In P. Smeyers (Ed.), Springer International Handbook of Philosophy of Education. Netherlands
- Suissa, J. (2017). Pedagogies of Indignation and "The Lives of Others. Policy Futures in Education. doi:10.1177/1478210317721279
- Suissa, J. and Charkin, E. (2017). Radical education. In U. Gordon, R. Kinna (Eds.), Routledge handbook of radical politics. London, UK: Routledge.
- Suissa, J. (2015). Character Education and the Disappearance of the Political. Ethics and Education, 10 (1). doi:10.1080/17449642.2014.998030
- Derry, J. (2013). Vygotsky, philosophy and education. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
- Suissa, J. (2013). Tiger mothers and praise junkies: children, praise and the reactive attitudes. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47 (1), 1-19
- Suissa, J. and Ramaekers, S. (2012). The Claims of Parenting: reasons, responsibility and society. Contemporary philosophies and theories in education. Dordrecht: Springer
The Philosophy Centre runs a weekly Philosophy of Education Research Seminar, in conjunction with the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, every Wednesday evening during term time.