First and foremost it must be stated that Allen and Goddard’s Education and Philosophy – An Introduction is an interesting book and a worthwhile read. However, the authors admit that they would not be unhappy if they should cause some doubt and uncertainty in their readers when it comes to the state of education as assessed by means of historical and current philosophical thought. Indeed, if one is willing to adopt the book’s bleak and pessimistic outlook as a sufficient condition to evoke this doubt and uncertainty then the authors have certainly accomplished their intended goal. Hence, despite this being an interesting book, it is a rather depressive read. However, no one should object to calling a bleak situation just that: a bleak situation. But such a claim needs justification and the position upon which such a claim is founded needs to withstand scrutiny. The authors, who are both without formal philosophical training, appear to attempt this by providing a mostly descriptive, historical timeline, tracing the philosophical engagement with education over roughly 2,500 years while the critical engagement is mostly based upon secondary sources.
In what follows I try to re-direct the gaze beyond the doubt-evoking state of education. Instead I advocate the focus upon the logical coherence upon which the authors’ verdict appears to be based by concentrating upon a small number of issues.