Thought Leaders

Felix Adler (1851-1933): Founder of Ethical Culture movement.

Jean Anyon (1941-2013): Critical thinker on intersections of race, social class, education policy, and the economy. 

John Dewey (1859-1952):

Carol Dweck (b1941): Professor of psychology, Stanford; developed theories of implicit intelligence.

Michelle Fine: Professor of Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center; focuses on social injustice, drawing from feminist, critical race, and other critical theories.

Paolo Freire (1921-1997): Proponent of critical pedagogy; best known for “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”

Carol Gilligan (b1936): Professor of psychology, NYU; works mainly on feminine and masculine moral voices.

Maxine Greene (1917-2014): Educational philosopher, author, social activist, and teacher; promoted arts as meaning-making.

Sidney Hook (1902-1989): Democratic socialist and secular humanist; chair, department of philosophy at NYU; fellow, Hoover Institute.

bell hooks (b1952): Author, feminist, social activist; focuses on the relationships among race, gender, and capitalism.

Ivan Illich (1926-2002): Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest; advocate for self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid arrangements.

Philip Stuart Kitcher (b1947): British philosophy professor, currently at Columbia, specializing in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mathematics and, more recently, Dewey and pragmatism.

Alfie Kohn (b1957): Independent scholar heavily influenced by John Dewey and Jean Piaget; argues that learning should be about making meaning.

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987): Professor of education and social psychology at Harvard best known for theory that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behavior, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate than its predecessor than responding to moral dilemmas.

Paul Kurtz (1925-2012): Known as the father of secular humanism.

Bob Moses (b1935): Civil rights activist and educator; coordinator,  Mississippi Freedom Summer; founder, The Algebra Project; author, Radical Equations.

Nel Noddings (b1929): Feminist and philosopher best known for her work in philosophy of education, educational theory, and ethics of care. Author of “Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education,” “The Challenge to Care in Schools,” “Educating Moral People.”

Howard Radest (1928-2014): Author, teacher, Ethical Culture leader; chair, University Seminar on Moral Education, Columbia University; director, Ethical Culture Fieldston School.

John Robert Shook (b1969): A leading scholar of pragmatism, Shook writes on naturalism, philosophy of science, and philosophical psychology, religion v atheism, humanist ethics, political theory, and secularism. Currently, Research Associate in Philosophy and Instructor of Science Education at the University at Buffalo.

Cornel West (b1953): Academic and activist, West focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their “radical conditionedness.” Currently, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary.