Scheffler, Israel

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SCHEFFLER, ISRAEL (1923– ), U.S. philosopher and educator. Scheffler was born in New York City. He received a B.A. and an M.A. in psychology from Brooklyn College, and an M.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Scheffler began his professional career at Harvard in 1952 and became professor of education and philosophy in 1964. His The Language of Education (1960) was a pioneering work in the field of linguistic analysis as applied to education. In his work, Scheffler attempted to apply philosophical methods to educational ideas. He developed the logical evaluation of assertion, namely the examination of ideas from the standpoint of clarity and the examination of arguments from the standpoint of validity. Philosophical analysis, of which Scheffler was a leading spokesman, stressed the clarification of basic notions and modes of argument rather than the synthesizing of available beliefs into some total outlook.

After he retired from teaching, he was named Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education and Philosophy, Emeritus, at Harvard University. In 2003 he became the scholar-in-residence at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University.

His works include Philosophy and Education (1958, 19662), The Anatomy of Inquiry (1963), Conditions of Knowledge (1965), Science and Subjectivity (1967), Beyond the Letter (1979), Reason and Teaching (1988), Of Human Potential (1990), Teachers of My Youth, an American Jewish Experience (1994), Symbolic Worlds (1996), and Gallery of Scholars (2005). He co-edited Visions of Jewish Education (2003).

[Ernest Schwarcz /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]