Education and Society


Dewey was mainly influenced by Plato since he, Dewey, loved to read Plato’s philosophy. Despite the fact that he admired Plato, the two had two different world views. Since Plato’s view was contemplative and aristocratic while on the other base Dewey was a democratic and an activist, that is Dewey’s philosophy of education rested on his belief in democracy and the power of scientific method while Plato’s philosophy of education rested on his belief in aristocracy and the power of pure reason. Plato mainly proposed a society that is already planned, but for Dewey he so it fit to have a society that continuously engages itself in planning, yet Dewey so some value in the ideas of Plato about the relationship between education and society. This was mainly because of Dewey’s interest in the active Chicago schooling environment. Cahn a well-known philosopher once asserted that Dewey and Plato are the only two philosophers to emphasize on the importance of education (Patrick, 2009).

Dewey’s Envisions

Dewey’s principles proclaim that a participatory self-governing people must be based on a participatory democratic education system, and he supported his argument by asserting that schools should offer good training in all courses and subjects so that when they, students, reflect on their experiences they may increase their capacity for future intellectual thought and achievement, that is, according to him cleverness does not develop simply as a result of difficulty solving action and experience; it develops best as a result of reflective, strategic, real-world problem solving action and experience (Patrick, 2009).

Dewey emphasize that education is a strong means, that people have evolved to develop their natural organic capacity to work out problems by judging and acting with determination, efficiently and thoughtfully. Dewey believed that action-oriented, collaboration, real-world problem solving education can function as the most powerful means to raise the level of instrumental intelligence in individuals, groups, communities, societies, and humanity (Patrick, 2009).

According to Patrick (2009) Dewey emphasises that there is one principle that should be directly applied to the relationship between academics and society that is the principle of continuity. The principle states that what is learned in an earlier situation carries over to a later situation. That is the future has to be taken into account at every period of the educational process. Dewey’s principles points out that continuity is not simple guidance for a future educational condition, but that continuity is more difficult, in that not only will the educational experience seem relevant to some future state, but also will it be significant to the child’s present experience (Benson, Harkavy & Puckett, 2007). It is not sufficient to learn a problem-solving skill that will be used later on a consistent test, but it is also important that there be continuity between the techniques and the student current life experiences, in that the knowledge must be relevant to the present situation and at the same time have an ability to be applicable in the future as well. It is very important to some extent since every experience should do something to prepare a person for later experience of a deeper and more open superiority (Curren, 2003).

Plato’s envision

Plato did not, in his book advocate for greater economy or ample distribution of commercial goods in order to raise material living standards, but instead he advocated for a tendency of the soul or the intellectual and spiritual growth of the person. That is Plato emphasized on , paideia of education and culture that would take place from birth to maturity level, of which the last stages would only be taken by a few people, men, who are destined to rule or teach. For Plato education offered to the guardians and masses was to be low and carefully proscribed so that no wrong or precarious thoughts could easily go into their minds. They were to be indoctrinated with myths created to validate the regime under which they lived and to support their unquestioning support. In the republic Plato gives a relation of human beings and society with reference to education and politics (Benson, Harkavy & Puckett, 2007).

Clearly Plato’s study of politics in Athens led him to consider that the great masses of the citizens could not be trusted to make correct political decisions on any important matter, and hence must be kept forever in a state of pupilage to their rulers and betters. Therefore Plato’s idea of the relationship between education and society was to keep that gap between the rich and the poor, in that by creating those myths this would always enclose the peasant and poor people in that situation of poverty, yet the same education would be taught to the ruling class so that they could be in a position to retain their dominance in the society (Benson, Harkavy & Puckett, 2007).

Plato suggests that we cannot speak about good education without knowing what justice and virtue really are. Since the fine life for people entails contributing to the social good, there is no essential conflict between what is good for us and what is good for our society, provided our society is just. However Plato’s idea has its challenges since some group or person in actually decide the correct idea of the good for every person.


Even though Dewey’s work was formulated in the industrial age of the American continent, his works are uncannily applicable for the present times. As scholars struggle with the current principles and accountability improvement, it is crucial that they move beyond a reactive posture and critically reflect upon the implications of these reforms. Dewey does not provide a same interest on democracy and education, In that Plato and Dewey envisioned facilitate the expansion of a society in which the wants of an ideology different society can be met, creating a citizenry that is seriously aware, ethically responsible, and reactive through their partaking, benefit all members of our society. It is clearly that both Dewey and Plato have the same envision of the relationship between education and society, in that both support the concept that education is the most important factor for the healthy sustainability of a society.

In their works we get to find that they push for the availability of education to every individual in the state, this brings in the important aspect of intelligence awareness in the society, although they view this point with different mentality, they all have that one vision, a peaceful coexistence of citizens. Plato is more so very determined to keep the original trend of people retaining their classes, while on the other hand; Dewey is on the view that education should be a weapon to better the life of individuals at the present time and more so in the future.

Plato and Dewey have many aspects in common although they did live in different times, this is not only, do to the fact that Plato was a major influence to Dewey, but more so because they did exist in an environment with similar characters.


Benson, L., Harkavy, I., & Puckett, J. (2007). Dewey’s dream: Universities and democracies in an age of education reform. Philadelphia: Temple university press.

Cureen, R. (2003). A Companion to the philosophy of education. Oxford: Blackwell.

Patrick, M. (2009). Dewey’s Democracy and education revisited: Contemporary discourses for democratic education and leadership. Baltimore: Rowman and Littlefield publishers.