As a philosopher of education, I aim to help students cultivate the dispositions, habits of mind, and skills of critical reasoning that will enable them to analyze and also learn from life’s existential and moral challenges. In an age dominated by instrumental discourse and market-based assumptions concerning education, educational philosophy provides an alternative framework that can help teachers, educational policy-makers, and school reformers consider how education can promote personal transformation and further social justice.
My research focuses on hermeneutics: the philosophy of interpretation and understanding. My published work examines the implications of hermeneutic self-understanding for teaching, learning, educational policy, and the humanities. I also have investigated similarities and differences between hermeneutic self-understanding and the learning sciences and have compared hermeneutics and post-positivist philosophy of science. Currently, I am completing an article that analyzes the role of hermeneutic self-doubt in doctoral education.
In addition to my faculty position in the College of Education, I am a member of the Jewish Studies Department.
Ph.D., Stanford University: Philosophy of Education
M.A., Stanford University: Religious Studies
M.S.Ed., University of Southern California: Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education
M.A., Hebrew Union College: Jewish Education With Honors
B.A., Pitzer College: English and American Literature With Honors
President, Philosophy of Education Society: 2016-2017
Inaugural William Cutter Scholar-in-Residence, Hebrew Union College: 2009
Honorary Doctorate, Hebrew Union College: 2006
National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow: 1996-1998
Rhea Hirsch Award for Scholarship in Jewish Education, Hebrew Union College: 1980 and 1981
Anna Grancell Award for Scholarship, Hebrew Union College: 1980 and 1981
Links to Selected Publications
Kerdeman, D. (2015). Interpretation, Social Science, and Educational Research. In David Bridges, Nicholas C. Burbules, Morwenna Griffiths, and Paul Smeyers (eds.), International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research Methods (pp. 17-37). New York: Springer.
Kerdeman, D. (1999). Between Interlochen and Idaho: Hermeneutics and Education for Understanding. In Steve Tozer (ed.), Philosophy of Education 1998 (pp. 272-279). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.
Kerdeman, D. and Phillips, D.C. (1993). Empiricism and the Knowledge Base of Educational Practice. Review of Educational Research 63(3). Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association, 305-313.
Currently, I teach the following courses:
Introduction to Educational Inquiry
Two-quarter sequence of courses required for all 1st year Ph.D. students in our College of Education. Typically I co-teach this course with a colleague in the College of Education who specializes in quantitative and/or qualitative social science.
Introduction to Philosophy of Education
Seminar in Philosophy of Education: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics
Seminar in Philosophy of Education: Social Science, Social Justice, and Qualitative Research
I also have taught the following courses:
Seminar in Philosophy of Education: Philosophical Issues in Interpretive Research
Education as a Moral Endeavor
Topics and Tensions in School and Society: Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education