Spinoza on the teaching of doctrines : towards a positive account of indoctrination

Theory and Research in Education 19 (1):78-99 (2021)
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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to add to the debate on the normative status and legitimacy of indoctrination in education by drawing on the political philosophy of Benedict Spinoza. More specifically, I will argue that Spinoza’s relational approach to knowledge formation and autonomy, in light of his understanding of the natural limitations of human cognition, provides us with valuable hints for staking out a more productive path ahead for the debate on indoctrination. This article combines an investigation into the early modern history of political ideas with a philosophical inquiry into a persistent conceptual problem residing at the heart of education. As such, the aim of the article is ultimately to offer an account of indoctrination less fraught with the dangers of epistemological and political idealism that often haunt rival conceptions.

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Johan Dahlbeck
Malmö University

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