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Eric Bredo

Eric Bredo
Professor Emeritus


Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Social Justice Education

Research Overview

As someone influenced by philosophical pragmatism I am greatly interested in the meaning of educational ideas. I see philosophy of education as concerned centrally with reflecting upon, and critically evaluating, prevailing educational theories, concepts or ideas.

Understanding the practical uses and limitations of educational ideas—their meaning--is important if the way educational problems are conceived not uncommonly contributes to the problems being addressed, making educational policies and practices unwittingly self-defeating. Greater awareness of how different ways of thinking may reinforce the problems they aim to resolve, and how they might do so to lesser degree, seems to me at least the beginning of wisdom.

Much of my work focuses on relations between the ideas of the classical pragmatists like C. S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey and George Herbert Mead, and contemporary psychological, sociological and educational theory. Much of it is also synthetic, relating different theories and approaches to one another by bringing out relations between their implicit assumptions, values and social attitudes.

Representative Publications


Jim Garrison, Ron Podeschi and Eric Bredo (Author/Editors), William James and Education, Teachers College Press, 2002.

Eric Bredo and Walter Feinberg (Author/Editors), Knowledge and Values in Social and Educational Research, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982.

Book Chapters

Eric Bredo, (In process) “The Three Psychologies and Their Educational Consequences,” in Lyn Corno and Eric Anderman (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology, NY: Lawrence Earlbaum, 2014.

Eric Bredo, “Getting Beyond the Intellectual Comfort Zone,” in Robert Kunzman (Ed.), Philosophy of Education 2011, Urbana, IL, University of Illinois, 2011, pp. 328-330.

Eric Bredo, “The Interaction of Content and Control in Group Problem-Solving and Learning,” in Timothy Koschmann (Ed.), Theories of Learning and Studies of Instructional Practice. N.Y.: Springer, 2011: pp. 113-122.

Eric Bredo, “Mead, George Herbert,” in Mark Bevir and Colin Bird (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Political Theory, Sage Publications. 2010

Journal Articles

Eric Bredo, “Mead’s Philosophy of Education. An essay review of The philosophy of education (G. H. Mead. 2008. G. J. J. Biesta & D. Tröhler, Eds. Boulder, CO: Paradigm),” Curriculum Inquiry, 40(2), March 2010, (Anniversary Issue Part II), pp. 317-333.

Eric Bredo, “A Brief History of the Methodology Wars.” Philosophy of Education Review, Department of Philosophy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, 2010.

Eric Bredo. “Getting Over the Methodology Wars, Educational Researcher,  August/September, 2009: 441-448.

Eric Bredo. “Is Educational Policy-Making Rational? And What Would That Mean, Anyway?” Educational Theory, v. 59, n. 5, 2009, pp. 533-547.

Professional Activities

Recent Presentations include the following:

Eric Bredo, (forthcoming) “What Kind of Inquiry Today? A Response,” Philosophy of Education Society, Pittsburgh, PA, March 22-26, 2012.

Eric Bredo, “What is Good Thinking?” Presented to two conferences on philosophy of education, one at Fudan University, Jan. 7-9, 2011 and the other at East China Normal University, Jan. 9-11, 2011.

Eric Bredo, “In Defense of Pluralism and Situated Inquiry,” a response to Erik Olin Wright’s Kneller lecture, “Envisioning Real Utopias.” Philosophy of Education Society, St. Louis, MO, March 24-28, 2011.

Eric Bredo, “Beyond the Intellectual Comfort Zone: A Response to Francis Schrag,” Philosophy of Education Society, St. Louis, MO, March 24-28, 2011.

Sarah Stitzlein, Mike Guzenhauser and Eric Bredo, “Improving the Teaching of Philosophy of Education Courses,” Philosophy of Education Society alternative session, St. Louis, MO, March 24-28, 2011.

Eric Bredo and Eamonn Callan, discussants, Kurt Stemhagen, “Growth versus Stability: Lewis Mumford’s Critique of Dewey’s Aim of Education,” Philosophy of Education Society, St. Louis, MO, March 24-28, 2011.

Eric Bredo, “William James and the Value of Individuality,” Philosophy of Education Society, San Francisco, April 8-12, 2010.

Other Information

When not thinking about thinking I like to spend my time hiking or biking and enjoying nature (or culture) with others.