Education has been important in the thinking of philosophers from the beginning of the Western tradition. But only in the middle of the twentieth century was philosophy of education recognised in Britain as a distinct discipline, with the establishment of a professorial chair at the Institute of Education, University of London, in 1947. Fifty years later a series of public lectures, jointly sponsored by the Institute and the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, marked the Anniversary. After the founding contribution of Louis Arnaud Reid, it was in the 1960s that Richard Peters and his colleague Paul Hirst set an analytical direction for philosophy of education. Here, from the standpoint of the rather different view he takes of education now, Hirst gives his own account of that development. David E. Cooper examines the influence on educational thinking of the wider philosophical and cultural climate of the time. Susan Mendus takes a political philosopher's view of the challenges facing moral education in an age of pluralism.
And at a time when the value of educational research is under scrutiny, David Bridges argues that one of the weaknesses of much research is its neglect of philosophical thinking. The contributors share a sense of philosophy's capacity to contribute to the improvement of educational practice through the broader perspective that it brings to that practice.