Confucian trustworthiness and communitarian education

Ethics and Education (forthcoming)
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Through the conceptual lens of ‘education-as-moulding’ and ‘education-as-drawing-out,’ this article expounds the Confucian concept of trustworthiness (xin) and its relation with communitarian education. Informed by the Analects, it is argued that Confucius envisions a community of trustworthy members who are motivated and characterised by interpersonal trust. From a Confucian viewpoint, both approaches – education-as-moulding and education-as-drawing-out – are salient for the development of trustworthiness as a moral virtue in students and relational trust in the school community. The paper also addresses a prominent criticism of communitarian education: the imposition of prescribed values and curriculum on students that suppresses their individual identities, interests and voices. From a Confucian perspective, such an imposition over-emphasises education-as-moulding and neglects education-as-drawing out, making the enforcement ineffective in the cultivation of trustworthiness as a moral virtue. What is recommended instead is the harmonisation of the self and others through both education-as-moulding and education-as-drawing-out.



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