Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

2017 Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Critical Theory as Metatheory of Education

  • Sharon Rider
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-588-4_144



Critical theory of educationcan be understood as essentially a specific kind of philosophical project, in which the question of the conditions of the possibility of knowledge is taken as at once conceptual and social. Whereas pedagogy or educational theory focuses on the actual acquisition of knowledge and inculcation of certain desired or desirable dispositions (i.e., the conditions for teaching and learning), a philosophical or “critical” project is to examine the conditions of possibility for such a systematic knowledge as that which educational theories claim for themselves. In other words, the aim is to examine the very premises upon which educational theory and practice are based. While educational theories, however abstract, belong broadly to the empirical sciences and, more specifically, the social sciences, the critical project is “metatheoretical,” to the extent that it addresses the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adorno, T., & Horkheimer, M. (2002). Dialectic of enlightenment: Philosophical fragments. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Benhabib, S. (1992). Situating the Self: Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  3. Freire, P. (1973). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  4. Giroux, H. (2001). Theory and resistance in education: Towards a pedagogy for the opposition. Westport: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  5. Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and human interests. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  6. Kant, I. (1965). Critique of pure reason. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  7. Kant, I. (2003). On education. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  8. Marcuse, H. (1964). One-dimensional man: Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  9. Marx, K. (1975). Early writings. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  10. Weber, M. (1946). From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden