Philosophy is “a system for guiding life” or
“a study of the most general causes and
principles of the universe,” or “the study
of truth or the principles underlying all
knowledge” (Harold Barrow 1979).
Philosophia in Greek means “love of
Fields of philosophy
There are different areas of philosophy, which
include the following:
Metaphysics: the study of the nature of reality.
Ontology: the study of the nature of being.
Theology: the study of the nature of God.
Cosmology: the study of the nature of the universe.
Epistemology: the study of the nature of knowledge.
Axiology: the study of the nature of good.
Aesthetics: the study of the nature of beauty.
Politics: the study of the nature of the common good.
Logic: the study of the relationship of ideas to one
The mind and body
Explain the role of mind and body?
Mind and body
Dualism is …
The recognition of two independent powers of
principles, such as mind and matter.
The mind may be viewed as reflecting on our
own thinking or consciousness.
To be conscious does not involve being a
certain shape or size or to move in a certain
way and thus no extension can come from the
The body may be considered as not ‘me’ but
part of the material world that most directly
affects the mind.
How does the mind and
The mind may be the inner cause of behaviour
not just behaviour re-described.
Is pain physical or non-physical?
Is the mind matter or non matter?
Is the word mind the best description for the
Is the brain a material governor? A physio-
The body and being
The relationship between mind-body are the
relationships studied by philosophers.
Phenomenologists (researchers of self-
awareness) investigate body and being.
They begin with the presumption that the body
is the primary self and study the bodies
experience in different sports situations, and
note how it differs in nonphysical situations.
Are there absolute measures for determining good
and evil, right and wrong? Do such standards
change depending on the situation? What
constitutes the “good life.”?
What is the best form of government? What is the
role of education in the social structure? What
should be its goals? Should physical education be in
a school curriculum?
Sport as a meaningful
The peak experience is “that moment
when the person is totally involved, in
control, and effortlessly touching
that flow of personal perfection.”
How do we experience
It is temporal in character.
It has elements of organic physical and cultural
It involves the past, present and future.
It has a time-space locus.
It involves some object or phoneme in the
It can be perceptual, imaginative or conceptual.
Sport and aesthetics
When does the phenomena have the quality to be
Is movement to be considered a source of
How do we judge a sports high dive or an ice-
Sport and values
What values are generally taught in
Ethics define what people ought to do and
morals describe what people do.
Our beliefs dictate our behavior?
A theory underlies every action?
Does physical education teach moral
Contemporary Philosophies of
Education and Physical
Naturalism is based on its base word natural. It is a
belief that the laws of nature govern everything in
life. It states because nature is unchanging,
anything of value will always work.
Naturalism also emphasizes individualism by
considering the person is more important than
society as a whole. Although societal goals rank
lower than individual goals, this system accepts the
need for a social authority to prevent chaos.
In education the idea is the process should be
geared to the student, rather than the student
geared to the process. The teacher is both guide
The teacher primarily helps the teacher to learn
but nature does the teaching. The student must
make an active effort to learn, with punishments
and rewards as part of the process.
The rate of learning depends on the student,
because the educational process requires a physical
and mental balance, rather than the promotion of
one over the other.
In Physical Education
In physical education, naturalism considers the
whole person, not just the physical aspect.
Rousseau’s book “Emile” developed this idea
emphasizing play as an important part of the
process. Play has the element of competition but it
is not strongly emphasized. Teaching is paced with
the student’s needs, using reasonably democratic,
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this
This school considers all things interpreted by the
mind. All reality comes from the mind.
People’s rational (reasoning) powers help them find
the truth, although they may use scientific
methods to help in the discovery.
According to idealism people are more important
than nature because their minds interpret
everything in nature for them.
Ideas are true and never change, so moral values
never change. People have the freewill to choose
right and wrong.
Most of the educational process under idealism is
concerned with the mind, so content is objective.
Education develops the individual personality,
fostering moral and spiritual values are important.
The teacher creates a learning environment, but
the student is responsible for motivation and
Many teaching methods may be used, but education
takes place primarily through the active effort of
In Physical Education
Idealists consider physical education less important
than the more thought-orientated, educational
Physical education is based on known truths,
principles, and ideas that do not change, so the
program can be rather fixed and formal, although
not without variety in activities and teaching
The teacher is an important example to the
students, a role model in the use of ideas and
Idealism is a well-developed, broad philosophy for education
and physical education. It gives the student a strong place
in the universe by developing a feeling of individual
It permits a broad physical and intellectual growth, with
play and recreation making important contributions. At the
same time many object to the idealist notion of teaching
values that they have been established by past experience;
there is less interest in dedication and sacrifice for
Moreover some teachers’ actions may contradict the values
they seek to teach, as in the saying “actions speak louder
than words.” The idealist primary concern is to develop the
mind and so values the physical as less important. Many
idealists question the role of play in education.
Realism falls between naturalism and idealism. The
philosophy argues that the physical world of nature
is real, so people should use their senses and
experiences to understand it.
Experiment means, the scientific method, which
helps realists discover and interpret truth. Realists
believe that the physical things that happen result
from physical laws of nature.
They also hold that the mind and body cannot be
separated: one is not superior to the other.
Although naturalism does not permit religion (it
puts nature above everything) and idealism does not
permit religion, realism allows its adherents to go
either way in determining their beliefs.
The first priority of the realist
educational process is to develop the
student’s reasoning power because that
power is considered essential to further
Scientific, objective standards are always
part of an orderly, scientifically orientated
process and curriculum.
In Physical Education
Physical education is valuable in the realist
curriculum because it results in greater health and
Realists believe that a healthy person can lead a
fuller life. The realist physical education program is
based on scientific knowledge and uses many drills
to instill knowledge according to scientific
Social behaviors and life adjustment are important
benefits of recreational and sporting activities.
Realism deals with the world as we find it because
the world of cause and effect cannot be changed.
It gives physical education a clear function as a
healthy physical basis for life. However, realism
gives a more clearly defined place for physical
education in the educational process than many
other philosophies. Why?
The authoritarianism suggested by the realist
acceptance of standardization and drill learning is
not consistent with the needs of democratic
societies. Societal needs and trends are negligible
factors in realism.
Pragmatism is part of the broad philosophy of secularism.
Pragmatism is a home grown American philosophy where as
many others come from Europe.
Some of the phases that highlight Pragmatism are: “if there
is a will there is a way,” or “If it works use it.” The
Pragmatist says, “ I don’t have time in my life to figure out
all the mysteries about ultimate reality and ultimate
purpose that religion and philosophy have been traditionally
I have to be busy with living. My life involves encountering a
myriad of problems and I need to find solutions to those
problems.” Modern man looks towards the scientific
community to solve problems.
Pragmatism was once called experimentation
because it is based on learning from experiences or
The theory argues that because change is a
characteristic common to everything in life,
success is the only reliable judge of any theory or
truth; anything that is true can be proved.
Success in social relations is important. The
philosophy emphasizes societal living and preparing
people to take their places in a harmonious society.
The basic pragmatic educational tenet comes
from John Dewey, who advocated “learning by
doing,” or gaining knowledge through experience.
At the same time, the emphasis is on the student
rather than the subject area; each person is
different, so not all students should be forced
into the same mold.
Problem solving (experience) is the basic
educational method, and the ultimate judgments
are made in terms of a person becoming the
productive member of society.
The need is to develop the total person- mind,
body and soul, using a very broad process.
According to the pragmatic view of education, physical
activities have a social value, because they help integrate
students into society by teaching them how to act and react
with other people.
The curriculum is based on the needs and interests of the
students, and offers a variety of activities for a multiple of
The problem-solving method is used even in physical
education. The teacher tries to motivate the student rather
than use standardized programs.
Pragmatism is the practical approach to education that
breaks down the distinctions between life in and out of
It encourages people to cooperate by using a broad program
based essentially on whatever works. Physical education has
broad social uses and is important in pragmatism.
However, pragmatism’s experimental approach to education
is difficult to apply to physical education because the end
result may be an unimaginable multitude of goals.
The pragmatic philosophy of education has no fixed aims or
values. It does not provide the stability and direction
needed by many students.
“Man is a useless passion.” These words were
penned by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre
and provide the model for modern existentialism.
The cry is that passion makes a man more than an
intellectual capacity or biological processes. Hence
comes the questions today of “how do you feel
about that,” rather than what do you think about
Feelings have become the new standard of human
This thought process comes as a reaction of the
dry philosophical debates about what is man? The
origins of this philosophy stem back to Freidrich
Nietzsche who is famous for penning “God is dead.”
This statement was taking secularism to its logical
conclusion. If there is no God then we have the
right to decide our own morals and ethics, if we
simply have the courage to live by our convictions.
The root of the matter though is called “nihilism.”
Existentialism judges everything in terms of
the individual, who interprets experiences and
develops a personal system of values.
The person is more important than society, and
whether the person fits into society is not the
Existentialism is often called negative
Existentialism because they believe nothing can
be done to change things.
The implications of this philosophy on education can
be summarized as a process of learning about
oneself and developing ones own beliefs.
The school would only provide a learning
environment. The student would control the
curriculum and methods and the teacher would act
as a stimulator.
Responsibility towards oneself would be encouraged
rather than towards society. Students would be
made aware that they are responsible for the
consequences of their decisions.
In physical education, existentialism would allow
freedom of choice within the program. This might
take any form and therefore could not be planned
ahead by the teacher.
A wide variety of activities would result in the
development of creativity. The teacher would act
as the counselor by pointing out the various
available activities, and ultimately the students
would be responsible for selecting the activities in
which to participate.
Based on these suppositions, the
philosophy would appear to have only one
real strength: individuality, which makes
each student very important.
The importance of each student in the
school community and particularly in the
outside world would be hard to meet the
Humanism has a long history stemming back
to Protagoras a Greek Philosopher who
developed the concept of humanism.
His motto was “Homo mensure.” The idea is
that man is the measure of all things.
This philosophy and its teaching led to a
great debate between Martin Luther and
Erasmus in the sixteenth century. Erasmus
stated his belief “ad fontes” which means
“to the source.”
What had happened in the renaissance was the
rebirth or the rediscovery of learning Luther and
Erasmus’s debate is symbolic of the conflict of
humanism and the church. Man –centered or God-
Humanism is a philosophy has central to it the
concern that man’s welfare is central, or put
another way it is the belief that every human being
is an individual and should be treated as an
individual rather than part of a larger group.
The educational approach of the humanist tries to
counter the impersonal aspects of living in a
crowded society by trying to show concern to every
It encourages the involvement of everyone in the
educational process, not just some of the members
of the group.
The humanist does not try to make each person the
center of everything in education. It is simply an
effort to ensure that each person retains a
personal identity in society.
The approach tries to maximize student’s
potential contributions to society, and to
develop maximum student self-respect.
Physical education can be part of a more
humanistic society because its activities
include very close primary contact between
individuals and groups.
What are the different types of
Trying to recall.
How do we apply philosophy
in physical education?
Philosophy is a vital part of the physical
education programmes because it is a
major influence on the early stages of
Facts + Philosophy Principles +
Needs Goals + standards
Policies and procedures
Ethics and problems in
Ethics is a normative science, searching for the
principle foundations that prescribe obligations or
“oughtness.” It is concerned primarily with the
philosophical premises upon which imperatives are
Morality is a descriptive science, concerned with
“isness” and the indicative. Morals describe what
people do; ethics define what people ought to do.
What physical education philosophy best
represents your views?
How would you describe the philosophy
underlying the physical education program
in the high school you attended?
Which "philosophy" seems to dominate
Which philosophy dominates activity at a
local fitness club? Which dominates youth