Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states that an an object at rest will remain at rest unless an external force, which results to an imbalance in the forces, will cause the object move. An object in motion will stay in motion, in the same velocity, unless an external force causes it to stop.
The sciences almost has it easier than philosophers. Scientists can rest easy at night knowing that there is a certain exactness to their definitions, measurements, and theories. If there is a problem, they can define its parameters and test plausible solutions based on logical analysis. On the other hand, philosophers deal with questions that have multiple answers, or in some cases, no answers. Whether ideas are right or wrong is based on logical proof that people discuss centuries later. Educational philosophers, however, have the worst of it all. They attempt to provide answers to impossible questions (ex. What is the aim of education?) that will directly and indirectly affect humanity.
Newton’s second law of motion states that acceleration is produced when an external force acts on a mass.
However, soon, translators, educational philosophers, students, and teachers realize that there are errors to this application. Reasons for this include  the impurity of the translator’s interpretation of the aim;  differences in context; and  the extreme magnitude in which the idea was applied.
To complicate things further, the questions that educational philosophers are trying to answer are directly related to man and life–things that humans cannot seem to define. Life is too complicated to simplify into mere variables (but philosophers try anyway). As ideas are translated to reality, reality differentiates the contexts and proposed variables based on available resources. People (including translators) are too unpredictable, biased, unique, and imperfect to summarize.
Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction.
As a result, people change their minds about an idea. Funds and prestige are moved to support another (often opposing) idea. Other times, people consider a radically different aim; or translate the original aim into something alike, but not exactly the same. This swing in aims, translation, and application describes how people react to the effectivity and affectivity of an idea.
Whether or not this change works is a risk that humans, translators, and educational philosophers have to take. The reason is because movement is crucial for improvement. If schools and governments are too afraid to make mistakes and become stagnant, humanity cannot grow. After all, doing the wrong thing can sometimes lead to the right thing, just as Thomas Edison’s lightbulb knowledge base included one way of making it, and hundreds of ways of making the wrong one.
As long as education is moving somewhere, even if the goal is unclear, there is hope that the movement can bring us to the right thing–to the mean between extremes (Aristotle, 1925); or something better than the mean (Dewey, 1916). This hope of finding what is right is the reason why educational philosophers keep on trying to define humanity even if it is impossible. It is also the reason why people need to keep on learning and reflecting.
As long as people are coming up with new ideas, curriculum and teaching, aims, and methods will always evolve. Modifications will always be made to better define humanity, to learn from past mistakes, and to improve teaching. Though educational philosophers sleep at night not having exact definitions and measurements, the fact is, education is moving. As long as this is happening, as long as we are making mistakes and coming up with better ideas, the field of education will be all right.
Aristotle. (1925). Nicomachean ethics (D. Ross, trans.; pp.3-4, 24-27, 137-158, 269-276).
Dewey, J. (1916). Thinking in education. In Democracy and education (pp.152-163). New York: Free Press.
Levy, S. (1996). Starting from scratch: One classroom builds its own curriculum (pp.xi-39). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Maritain, J. (1943). Education at the crossroads (pp.1-4, 7-14, 29-38). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.