Michael L. Peterson
With All Your Mind makes a compelling case for the value of thinking deeply about education in America from a historically orthodox and broadly ecumenical Christian point of view. Few people dispute that education in America is in a state of crisis. But not many have posed workable solutions to this serious problem. Michael Peterson contends that thinking philosophically about education is our only hope for meaningful progress. In this book, he invites all who are concerned about education in America to “participate” in his study, which analyzes representative theories and practical strategies that reveal the power of Christian ideas in this vital area.
Peterson addresses the most fundamental questions facing educators, and society in general, such as: What is the purpose of education? What goals do new techniques and methods serve? What kind of person is our educational system supposed to produce? He also explores questions of unique importance to Christians, such as: What is the relation between Christianity and the pursuit of intellectual excellence? How can Christians bring their faith to bear on all areas of knowledge? Can educated Christians significantly influence culture?
With All Your Mind examines the key assumptions and implications of influential classical and contemporary philosophies with respect to education, including idealism, naturalism, Thomism, experimentalism, existentialism, linguistic analysis, and postmodernism. Based on this analysis, Peterson develops an unapologetically Christian philosophy of education in regard to curriculum design, instilling ethics and values, and the nature of teaching and learning.
Peterson further advances the merits of an ecumenical Christian philosophy of education by showing how it can be used to analyze key issues in educational theory, such as the relation of general education to liberal learning, the integration of faith and learning, and the demand for professional and technical training. From a practical standpoint, Peterson’s approach brings balance and common sense to issues such as the clash between public and private education, the rise of multiculturalism, the changing demographic and psychological profile of America’s youth, and the impact of computer and Internet technology.
“Refreshingly forthright about the priority of educational philosophy over methodological issues, and therefore about the foundational role of a Christian worldview, Peterson grounds the quest for truth and moral development and the pursuit of excellence in the creational mandate and redemptive task. An important call to educators, and a viable text for prospective teachers.” —Arthur F. Holmes, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
“This book makes a truly original and valuable contribution to the philosophy of education. It will be useful to students in both the fields of education and philosophy, and it will make an excellent text for courses in the philosophy of education. Peterson has a remarkable gift for explaining difficult concepts in a way that is accessible to non-experts.” —Gregory Mellema, Calvin College
“Drawing on both Protestant and Catholic sources, Peterson’s book develops a Christian philosophy of education on two levels. It is noteworthy and commendable in concretely spelling out the meaning of such theoretical concepts as the ‘integration of faith and knowledge’ and the characteristics of a ‘Christian mind.’ At the same time, it has a very practical orientation in bringing distinctively religious perspectives to bear on pedagogical and administrative issues . . . a ‘must read’ book for faculty colloquia at colleges and universities under Christian sponsorship.” —Janine Marie Idziak, Loras College
“A refreshing and insightful discussion of many crucial philosophical concerns in higher education, concerns that influence every discipline. Dr. Peterson’s book provides a very readable overview of philosophical history, while arguing convincingly for a philosophy of education informed by timeless classical and Christian truths.” —Daniel H. Strait, Asbury College
“Contemporary education is beset by many problems, [Peterson] argues, that can best be solved by instilling a reverent sense of humanity in children of all ages. . . . Recommended.” —Library Journal
“A thoughtful argument from a broadly ecumenical viewpoint that education does not just happen. Educators, to be effective, must think about what they are doing, and that thinking may result in something like a philosophy of education.” — First Things
“Peterson takes on [an] ambitious challenge, attempting to extend the influence of Christian perspectives to address the crisis pervading mainstream American education and culture. . . . [He] adroitly provides an overview of the basic concepts of three traditional schools of thought and four philosophies that have influenced education.” — America
“Peterson is clear, rigorous, critical, and fair. This is a valuable book, not only for students at church-related colleges who may need an introduction to the special educational contributions of their institutions and students in philosophy of education courses, but also as a reminder that Christian faith is not just a set of affections or a collection of virtues, but a confession. That confession, as Michael Peterson so ably points out, ought to make a difference in what we understand education to be for and how we go about educating.” — The Cresset
“The book’s value lies in being one of those . . . engaging, friendly and accessible texts which make complex ideas accessible to first-time readers in the field.” — Journal of Christian Education
“This is a very carefully written book with much of interest to say on a wide range of topics. It is comprehensive and yet succinct. It evidently represents a distillation of many years of reflection from a Christian perspective on all these topics. It is a valuable addition to recent Christian writings on education.” — Journal of Education and Christian Belief
“Peterson’s expositions of the positions of others are exemplary. His accounts and evaluations of Dewey and postmodernism are particularly helpful here . . . this is a significant, interesting and lucid contribution to an important topic, and should be warmly welcomed.” — International Journal of Education and Religion
“. . . a readable study of a complex topic.” — Interpretation