On Deciding The Aims and Content of Public Schooling

Educational Theory 73 (1):90-115 (2023)
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Abstract

In this paper, John Tillson defends an approach to deciding the aims and content of public schooling from the critique of Public Reason Liberalism. The approach that he defends is an unrestricted pairing of the Epistemic Criterion and of the Momentousness Criterion. On the Epistemic Criterion, public schooling should align students' credence with credibility. On the Momentousness Criterion, public schooling ought to include content that it is costly for children to lack the correct view about, where they are otherwise unlikely to have it. Public Reason Liberals seek to restrict both the Epistemic and Momentousness Criteria to within a range that is acceptable to politically reasonable citizens. In response, Tillson argues, first, that the considerations that encourage Public Reason Liberalism instead motivate unrestricted versions of the Epistemic and Momentousness Criteria; and, second, that Public Reason Liberalism faces a dilemma, that it either entails absurd consequences or must undermine itself in addressing these.

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John Tillson
Liverpool Hope University

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