What Are The Major Schools Of Thought In Philosophy?

What are the school of thought in philosophy?

The study of reality and the search for wisdom are both aspects of philosophy. Without philosophy, the art of teaching cannot be fully realized, and without education, philosophy cannot persuade others to share its goals and values. The educator must deal with life’s harsh realities. 

A philosophy is frequently described as the basis of knowledge. However, when you dissect the word itself, a very different connotation becomes apparent. The word “philosophy” actually means “love of wisdom” because it is derived from the Greek words “Philos,” which means love, and “Sophos,” which means “wisdom.” 

By briefly examining four important branches of philosophy, we will see how traditional philosophies have changed over time. The philosophical schools and their impact on education will then be discussed. Finally, you will hear from practicing educators and observe how they apply their educational “philosophies.”

Major Schools of Thought in Philosophy

The major educational ideologies that are prevalent today are reflected in four major schools of thought. Idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism are these systems of thought.

It’s crucial to remember that idealism and realism, often known as universal or global philosophies, have their roots in the writings of Plato and Aristotle, two ancient Greek philosophers. While existentialism and pragmatism are far more recent schools of thought,

1. Idealism

A philosophical school known as idealism places a strong emphasis on the idea that “ideas or concepts constitute the substance of all that is worth knowing”. This school of philosophy, which is based on Plato’s ideas, promotes conscious mental reasoning. Additionally, idealists seek out and respect universal or unalterable truths and concepts. Therefore, idealists think that ideas ought to endure across time. 

Educational Implications of Idealism. 

  • An idealist educational philosophy places more emphasis on concepts than on students or particular subject areas in the curriculum. Additionally, learning is intrinsically motivated. Idealism employs a variety of teaching techniques, including lectures, group discussions, and Socratic dialogue. Posing inquiries that elicit responses and establish connections is crucial to these instructional strategies.
  • Religious idealism believes that knowledge is not limited to the phenomenal world alone and that logical knowledge does not encompass all of reality. They also believe that knowledge gained through the mind is real. Their existence is the result of a being. 
  • The universe is real, and it indicates the existence of a greater power. The Study of God also shows that man always looks to God for completeness and fulfillment. As a result, education must take this reality into account.
  • Scientific idealism differentiates between the empty memorizing of abstract concepts and the environment and training of the mind for perception. It represents a complete rejection of the traditional approach in which children are forced to learn information by rote.
  • Instead of embracing authority as the source of human knowledge, the kid is given tremendous flexibility to learn new things and to think through problems. The inductive approach of observation, investigation, formulation of hypotheses, and rules that ultimately produce what is now recognized as scientific knowledge is a key criterion for knowledge in this context. 

The contribution of scientific knowledge to daily life is notable. In fact, it has improved human well-being in society. But it’s important to avoid reducing life to what can be examined, assessed, and determined in a lab. Life is always more expansive than rational science.

2. Realism

Aristotle’s writings are the source of the philosophical school known as realism. This school of thought places a strong emphasis on the idea that “truth, knowledge, and value exist independently of the human intellect.” Realists support using the mind and conducting scientific research to find the truth. 

The use of the scientific method enables people to categorize things into several groups based on their fundamental differences. The Scientific Method and realism are both credited to Aristotle as their originators. He examined matter by taking a practical approach to comprehending a thing by comprehending its form. 

This theory contends that a child’s mind is undeveloped when they are born. Through the mental imprints created by all of their sensory experiences after birth, they fill the slate with information.

Realistic education’s impacts

  • A realist educational philosophy places a strong emphasis on scientific research and advancement in the curriculum. Today’s classrooms are affected by this way of thinking, which has led to the development of standardized assessments, serialized textbooks, and specialized curricula). 
  • Experimentation, recitation, and demonstration are some of the teaching techniques employed in realism. Reality exists without regard to human thought. The teacher’s job is to be efficient, accountable, and effective while also encouraging the use of objective standards. 
  • The instructor demonstrates the application of criteria in decision-making by methodically organizing and presenting knowledge within a field. Additionally, students need to show that they can think critically and scientifically through observation and experimentation. The curriculum should be focused on certain disciplines, standardized, and take a scientific approach. Character development occurs through instruction in school.

3. Pragmatism

Most people consider pragmatism to be an American philosophy. It first appeared at the end of the nineteenth century. Pragmatism derives from the Greek term pragma, which means labor. Its proponents include George Sanders Pierce, William James, and John Dewey. 

Pragmatists believe that an action or experiment should be carried out first, and then principles and concepts should be deduced from the findings. This means that any philosophical theory is judged on its ability to address current issues before being considered valid. 

Anything that actually works in practice is valuable, desired, and deserving of support. The message is that nothing is infallibly good and that everything is flexible depending on the circumstances.

Another trait of pragmatism is that it avoids extraneous references to any authorities engaged in activities that gauge the viability of philosophical positions. Because pragmatists view experiment as the only yardstick for determining truth, it is thus called experimentalism. Truth, reality, goodness, and evil are all relative concepts in their eyes. 

These ideas are not fixed and unchangeable. Pragmatists also believe that what was true yesterday may not be true today. This belief is known as consequentialism since every action taken by a person is measured in terms of the results or consequences that it has. Change is the fundamental component of pragmatism. There is no absolute or unchanging truth.

Pragmatism’s Influence on Education

  • Pragmatism and contemporary education go hand in hand. It supports innovation in education and is opposed to conventional learning. The true goal of education is not merely to acquire knowledge for the sake of knowledge. 
  • This school of thought emphasizes the intellectual, spiritual, and artistic aspects of human endeavor. Human beings develop their own ideals and values through their activities. Aspects of education should promote human progress and welfare. 
  • Pragmatists believe that education should advance human welfare. Only adaptable educational institutions can continue to exist, be active, meet changing societal needs, and offer authentic experiences through activities.

4. Existentialism

Jean-Paul Sartre’s writings serve as the foundation for existentialism. Individuals construct their own worlds by interpreting the world through their own lenses. In this learner-centered concept, the instructor’s function is that of a facilitator. The foundation of this theory is the learner’s and teacher’s mutual trust. 

Existentialism is a philosophical school that “focuses on the importance of the individual rather than on external standards.” Existentialists hold that since reality is nothing more than the sum of our lived experiences, our ultimate realities are contained within each of us as individuals. 

Existentialists accept full responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions. As a result, outside of our human experience, the physical world has no actual significance.

Existentialism’s Impacts on Education

  • Given that the teacher treats each student as an individual, the topic matter in an existentialist classroom should be up to the teacher. 
  • Additionally, in an existential classroom, the student has the answers rather than the teacher. Students actively participate in the learning process by using real thinking to examine their experiences. Existentialists disagree with the idea of treating pupils like inanimate objects that can be tracked, tested, or standardized. 
  • Such educators favor making possibilities for self-direction and self-actualization the main focus of the educational process. As a result, they begin with the student rather than the curriculum.

What are the seven philosophical schools?

Metaphysics, axiology, logic, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy are the seven subfields that makeup philosophy.

What exactly do you mean by philosophical ideas?

Contemplation, or giving something your full attention, is a component of philosophical reasoning. Being rational entails accepting arguments for your beliefs. It also entails acting in accordance with motives. We frequently employ reason. Our beliefs are frequently based on

What distinguishes pragmatism from realist thought?

The most notable distinction is that pragmatism discourages the use of structural power in social explanations, but realism supports it when combined with other explanatory factors. The report challenges assertions that modern value research is mostly pragmatic.

The distinction between idealism and pragmatism

There are two conflicting philosophical stances: pragmatism and idealism. A philosophical perspective known as pragmatics measures the effectiveness of theories or beliefs in real-world applications. On the other hand, any philosophy that contends that reality is purely conceptual or immaterial is known as idealism.

What distinguishes pragmatism from naturalism?

Naturalism emphasizes techniques of active learning and first-hand experience that are child-centered. Pragmatism promotes problem-solving strategies, project methodologies, and socialization techniques.


The study of reality and the search for wisdom are both aspects of philosophy. Without philosophy, the art of teaching cannot be fully realized, and without education, philosophy cannot persuade others to share its goals and values. The educator must deal with life’s harsh realities.