Wed, Oct 28, 2009
Re: Student Appeal: Keep History & Philosophy of Education, PhD program
To Whom It Concerns,
As an M.A. student of the Philosophy of Education at OISE-UT, now working on a thesis that addresses the technologization of society and of education, I find it ill-conceived and ironic that the university that supported the philosophy (and history) of education would now consider axing the related doctoral program. I have benefited tremendously from having doctoral students as classmates. I fear that the quality of education for future M.A.- and M.Ed.-only students would be compromised, and the standard of professorship that could be retained for a Ph.D.-free program would suffer. The humanities are essential for self-reflection and self-correction, both for individuals and societies, and must be pursued and studied at the highest levels. To quote one philosopher of education, David E. Cooper, the further marginalization of the humanities “serves to cement, among educated people, that “boring,” “levelling,” natural scientific conception of reality which is part of our modern distress.”
Let us not forget, as well, that the term PhD, regardless of the field of study, is an abbreviation of ‘doctor of philosophy’ or ‘teacher of philosophy.’ Every branch of study and of practice comes with its own philosophical assumptions and imperfect methods of explanation, hence the need for ongoing debate and research. The retention of the title, PhD, is a reminder of this. For the University of Toronto to cancel the PhD program in, of all things, its History and Philosophy of Education department (TPS), which is already rare internationally and unique in Canada, is to let the foundations of education and of society to settle into the murk of market forces, cultural biases, totalizing normativity, and unconsciousness.
Preserve the doctoral program for the History and Philosophy of Education at OISE.
M.A. student, OISE-UT, TPS, History and Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Education
cc Gaskell, Laufer, Corman, Hillan, Sirha