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Encyclopaedia of  Philosophy of Education
Encyclopedia of Philosophy of education

Edited by
Michael A. Peters (New Zealand) & Paulo Ghiraldelli Jr. (Brazil)

The word "Encyclopedia" comes from Greek enkyklopaideia. It means "the circle of
the education", or a complete system of learning -- if we take the expression
literally. It is useful to think of the word and its original Greek meaning
because it reminds us that the first encyclopedias, and the ordinary meaning of
the word, did not draw any hard and fast distinctions between "philosophy" and
"knowledge" and "education". Indeed, for over 2000 years from the point of its
classical inception, through its history of transformations in the medieval,
modern and postmodern periods, the encyclopedia has remained an exemplary
pedagogical system designed to provide summaries of existing scholarship --
often both the meanings and referents of words and concepts -- in an accessible
language and format for particular audiences.
Of all pedagogical systems and reference works -- such as dictionaries,
almanacs, gazetteers, atlases and directories -- the encyclopedia was the only
one to aim at a total comprehensive and self-contained system, although there
was no one set of principles guiding the method for classification of entries or
arrangement of contents. Classifications varied considerably in the period
before the alphabetical arrangement of entries was introduced through a
standardization that came with printing, reflecting the working epistemologies
of the age and the evolution of disciplines and the formation of knowledges.
Encyclopedia of Philosophy of education