Earlier in the “Philosophy of Education” we had discussed five theories of education that Dr. Leonard Peikoff had presented in the Philosophy of Education course at the Ayn Rand Institute Campus. These theories were related to the perspective of each theory on the primary purpose of education – communicating knowledge, socializing, individuating, developing morality, and methodology.
According to Dr. Peikoff the primary purpose of education is the combination of the communicating knowledge and methodology theories, otherwise referred to as the knowledge and method theories. Dr. Peikoff states that knowledge and method are intertwined and one is of no use without the other.
For example, if the primary purpose of education is communicating knowledge and the individual was successful in receiving vast amounts of knowledge, what are they to do with it? Without method, the individual receiving the knowledge would not have a method for learning or critical thinking. Knowledge would be present for the sake of knowledge. Furthermore, without method, how would an individual successfully apply knowledge? This point is reinforced by a quote from Dr. Peikoff:
“Gobs of data is no good, unless it’s grasped by a thinking mind that knows how to understand, interpret, integrate, apply. And that needs training.”
Knowledge is great, but application of knowledge is the key to survival and success.
On the other hand, method without knowledge is useless. Reason being, there must be something to apply the learned method upon. An individual learns knowledge with the method of applying this knowledge. Method without knowledge lacks application, similar to the preceding scenario, or as Dr. Peikoff simply states:
“Thinking means thinking about something.”
Furthermore, knowledge and method are equivalent to reality and reason. Knowledge is based on reality and method, our reasoning abilities.
Knowledge and method are intertwined. To illustrate this the Philosophy of Education course shows two gears, one as knowledge and the other as method. The gears are interlocking and they are driving one another forward.
1. Ayn Rand Institute Campus. Philosophy of Education: http://campus.aynrand.org/classroom/3/
2. J.R. Sedivy. Philosophy of Education: http://jrsedivy.com/philosophy-of-education/
3. Leonard Peikoff: http://www.peikoff.com/