Philosophy of Education in the Age of DAO

Kai M
Decentralised Soul
Published in
8 min readFeb 18, 2022

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Illustration by me

In recent months, there has been an influx of developers and thinkers who are on a mission to bring decentralized technology to the educational field. This is extremely exciting as the world of education is often viewed through a centralized lens, where teachers, schools, universities, and governments are in charge of how curriculums form, how exams are marked, and how degrees and certificates are distributed. To see the blockchain and web3 space tackle this is truly fascinating.

With this in mind, I have decided to write an overview of some of the philosophers of education who I find particularly interesting, and who I think might be good for people in this space to keep in mind.

John Dewey — Social & Democratic Education

John Dewey is by far the most famous philosopher on this list. He is a highly influential philosopher who has had a lasting effect on how teaching is handled in this day and age.

It would take far too long to explore all of Dewey’s ideas when it comes to education, but the one that stands out for me is how he views learning centres as having a responsibility to socially orient their pupils. In particular, one of Dewey’s core beliefs about education is that it must foster democratic activity, teaching students that they can (and must) exercise their democratic abilities. In his words: “Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are to my mind synonymous”.

Dewey believed that students should be instilled with an acute awareness of their place in the social and political landscape, and how they can use their own influence and opinions to change the world in the way they best see fit. This means that schools must work towards showing pupils how to command themselves around others, as interpersonal relationships are the bedrock of any society. We see this through how schools encourage group work, often by telling us that we will need to learn how to work as a team when we grow up.

I imagine Dewey would love the idea of an educational DAO, as these are institutions that not only encourage students to vote on decisions, but require them to vote. Within DAOs, students are given a voice. This is important as Dewey would argue that voting within an educational institution…

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