Exploring the Concepts: Instrumentalism, Philosophy of Education, Ideology and Value Positions

Vicky Duckworth, Gordon Ade-ojo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter critically engages with philosophical drivers of education and considers how they inform and shape educational polices and specifically adult literacy. Value positions are exposed through the prism of two broad educational philosophical constructs of instrumentalism and libertarianism. In this context, specific attention is paid to differing conceptions of ethics, and the divergent ideas of human being that these generate. We relate this to ideas and debates within these areas for current issues in educational policy and practice. In specific terms, such libertarian values as intuitionism are held at counterpoint to the various strands of rationalist value in education. Emerging from this, policy manifestations such as progressive and child-centred education, liberalism, radical and libertarian educational traditions; equality are juxtaposed with instrumentalist values such as hedonism, solutionism and survivalism, which are usually manifested in privatization and marketization- centred policies. Following the exposition of these value positions, we explore the potential relationship between these positions and literacy policy and practice. Philosophy, ideology, adult literacy, instrumentalism, libertarianism, policy
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdult Literacy Policy and Practice From Intrinsic Values to Instrumentalism
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-53510-8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2015

Publication series

NamePalgrave Pivot


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