Aristotle presents his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics as an ordered pair comprising political science (hê politikê epistêmê), suggesting an axiomatic structure of theorems that are demonstratively deduced from first principles. He holds that this systematic knowledge of ethical and legislative matters provides the ‘universals’ essential to phronesis or practical wisdom, and that its acquisition begins in sound habituation. Aristotle thereby assigns habituation an epistemic role that must be understood in light of his account of the nature of a science. This (...) paper argues that what would be inductively established by, or on the basis of, sound habituation is the supposition that the natural kind of activity constitutive of living well exists; it establishes the supposition on which Aristotle’s definition of a eudaimon life rests. Having addressed this central interpretive issue, the paper sketches a psychologically grounded position on the substantive philosophical questions at stake. Are there natural signs of flourishing and failure to flourish present to us in our experience of attempts to live well? If such signs exist but are not sufficient to qualify ethical beliefs as knowledge in their own right, might they play a role in a science of what is good and bad for human beings? (shrink)
The central question for this book is whether schools should attempt to cultivate patriotism, and if so why, how, and with what conception of patriotism in mind. The promotion of patriotism has figured prominently in the history of public schooling in the United States, always with the idea that patriotism is both an inherently admirable attribute and an essential motivational basis for good citizenship. It has been assumed, in short, that patriotism is a virtue in its own right and that (...) it is a foundational aspect of civic virtue more generally. Through an integrated historical and philosophical approach, this book demonstrates that there have been many and diverse attempts to cultivate patriotism in public schools in the United States and that they have been predicated on different conceptions of patriotism, citizenship, and learning. In order to assess these assumptions and evaluate the various practices of patriotic education, we address the nature of virtue and the motivational foundations of civic responsibility, and we frame a general approach to the ethics of education. We find that the history of attempts to cultivate patriotism in schools offers both cautionary and positive lessons. We argue that there is a virtuous form of patriotism and that an inclusive and enabling just school community may contribute to its development. Yet, we conclude that patriotism is not a virtue as such. We argue that civic virtue is what schools should aim to cultivate, and that civic education should be organized around three components of civic virtue, namely civic intelligence, civic friendship, and civic competence. We hold that virtuous patriotism is an appropriate responsiveness to a country’s value, and that such responsiveness is part and parcel of civic virtue that is also responsive to what has value beyond one’s own country. The book concludes with a defense of global civic education, arguing that it should promote global civic friendship and cooperation. The book situates its understanding of patriotism in the context of nationalist, populist, and authoritarian movements in the United States and Europe, and it mounts a spirited defense of democratic institutions that should be of interest to anyone concerned about the polarization of public life and future of democracy. (shrink)
Ethical dimensions of friendship have rarely been explicitly addressed as aspects of friendship quality in studies of children's peer relationships. This study identifies aspects of moral virtue significant for friendship, as a basis for empirically investigating the role of ethical qualities in children's friendship assessments and aspirations. We introduce a eudaimonic conception of friendship quality, identify aspects of moral virtue foundational to such quality, review and contest some grounds on which children have been regarded as not mature enough to have (...) friendships that require virtue, and report a qualitative study of the friendship assessments and aspirations of children aged nine and ten. In focus group sessions conducted in ten schools across Great Britain, moral qualities figured prominently in children's assessments of friendship quality. The findings provide evidence of children having friendships exhibiting mutual respect, support, and valuing of each other's good character. (shrink)
Character education in schools has been high on the UK political agenda for the last few years. The government has invested millions in grants to support character education projects and declared its intention to make Britain a global leader in teaching character and resilience. But the policy has many critics: some question whether schools should be involved in the formation of character at all; others worry that the traits schools are being asked to cultivate are excessively competitive or military. In (...) this pamphlet RandallCurren sets out a robust defence of character education. He welcomes the political support it presently enjoys, but contends that greater clarity about the nature, benefits and acquisition of good character is essential. In particular, he argues that too narrow a focus on traits like perseverance and resilience is a serious mistake: these traits are only virtues when they are part of a wider set of moral and intellectual qualities, and when their exercise is guided by good judgment. Curren offers us a compelling and coherent account of what good character is and how it might be cultivated in schools. He explains why schools must be needs-supporting environments that provide students with opportunities to engage in rewarding activity, and why cultivating good character implies promoting the ‘fundamental British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance. His groundbreaking pamphlet promises to expand the scope and strengthen the foundations of character education in British schools, and should go a long way towards allaying the fears of its detractors. (shrink)
The main focus of this book is the normative or ethical aspects of sustainability, including matters of justice in governance that is important to sustainability. The idea of sustainability is widely perceived as having a normative dimension, often referred to as equity, but the character of this normative dimension is seldom explored. The book aims to fill this gap in the literature of sustainability. It proposes a conceptualization of sustainability that is geared to clarifying its essential ethical structure. It frames (...) sustainability in terms of the capacity of natural systems to provide opportunities to live well, as well as the conduciveness of human practices and systems to preserving such opportunity into the distant future. It develops the idea of sustainability as an art of preserving opportunity to live well – an ethically and scientifically grounded political art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future. (shrink)
Aristotle regarded law and education as the two fundamental and deeply interdependent tools of political art, making the use of education by the statesman a topic of the first importance in his practical philosophy. The present work develops the first comprehensive treatment of this neglected topic, and assesses the importance of Aristotle's defense of public education for current debates about school choice and privatization, and educational equality.
_A Companion to the Philosophy of Education_ is a comprehensive guide to philosophical thinking about education. Offers a state-of-the-art account of current and controversial issues in education, including issues pertaining to multiculturalism, special education, sex education, and academic freedom. Written by an international team of leading experts, who are directly engaged with these profound and complex educational problems. Serves as an indispensable guide to the field of philosophy of education.
This paper explores some general considerations bearing on the question of whether virtue can be measured. What is moral virtue? What are measurement and evaluation, and what do they presuppose about the nature of what is measured or evaluated? What are the prospective contexts of, and purposes for, measuring or evaluating virtue, and how would these shape the legitimacy, methods, and likely success of measurement and evaluation? We contrast the realist presuppositions of virtue and measurement of virtue with the behavioral (...) operationalism of a common conception of measurement in psychometrics. We suggest a realist and non-reductive conceptualization of the measurability of virtue. We then discuss three possible educational contexts in which the measurement of virtue might be pursued: high-stakes testing and accountability schemes, the evaluation of programs in character education, and routine student evaluation. We argue that high-stakes testing of virtue would be ill-advised and counterproductive. We make some suggestions for how program evaluation in character education might proceed, and offer some examples of evaluation of student virtue-related learning. We conclude that virtue acquisition might be measured in a population of students accurately enough for program evaluation, while also arguing that student and program evaluation do not require comprehensive evaluations of how virtuous individual students are. Routine student evaluation will typically focus on specific aspects of virtue acquisition, and program evaluations can measure the aggregate progress of virtue acquisition in all its aspects while evaluating only limited aspects of the learning of individual students. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to revive a tradition of educational thought that identifies good judgment as the highest aim of education. It identifies sharply opposed manifestations of this tradition in the works of Aristotle and Locke, and uses these as points of departure in defending and exploring the tradition. The defense rests on the claims that the basic aim of educational institutions should be to enable people to live well and that good judgment is essential to living well. (...) The relationships between good judgment and other widely discussed educational aims are addressed, including autonomy, fulfillment of potential, and acquisition of knowledge. Curricular and pedagogical aspects of the promotion of good judgment are addressed, and the paper concludes by identifying potential benefits as well as limitations associated with the conditions of epistemic dependence. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to outline the basis for a comprehensive account of educational rights. It begins by acknowledging the difficulties posed by diversity, and defends a conception of universal human rights that limits parental educational discretion. Against the backdrop of the literature of public reason and fair equality of opportunity, it sketches arguments for the existence of rights to education of some specific kinds. Those rights, and associated educational purposes, are systematised on the basis of a conception (...) of education as initiation into practices that express human flourishing. (shrink)
This paper assesses the historical meaning and contemporary significance of Aristotle’s educational ideas. It begins with a broad characterization of the project of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, which he calls “political science” (hê politikê epistêmê), and the central place of education in his vision of statesmanship. It proceeds through a series of topics fundamental to his educational ideas, culminating in the account of education in Politics VIII. A concluding section appraises the uses to which Aristotelian ideas are currently put (...) in philosophy of education, identifying some confusions in the influential literature of “practices.”. (shrink)
This chapter addresses some basic questions about the cultivation of responsibilist intellectual virtue. What is intellectual virtue? How are specific intellectual virtues defined and how do they contribute to intellectual virtue in general? What are the epistemic goods at which intellectual virtue and virtues aim? What justifies education in epistemic virtue, understood as a state of intellectual character? How should the motivational aspect of epistemic character be understood? How can educators cultivate a devotion to epistemic goods for themselves? How can (...) curricula, methods of instruction, and the evaluation of student learning and schools best support and not undermine the cultivation of intellectual virtue? (shrink)
Philosophy of Education: An Anthology brings together the essential historical and contemporary readings in the philosophy of education. The readings have been selected for their philosophical merit, their focus on important aspects of educational practice and their readability. Includes classic pieces by Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Dewey. Addresses topical issues such as teacher professionalism and accountability, the commercialization of schooling, multicultural education, and parental choice.
Aristotle’s Politics offers both a broad diagnosis of the hazards of contemporary populism and a broad characterization of actionable remedies, and it does so in conjunction with an ideal of political societies as properly partnerships in living well, characterized by voluntary cooperation, mutual advantage, and civic friendship. The task of this paper is to explain the diagnosis, remedies, and ideals more fully and to illustrate their currency and value in contemporary political analysis. It addresses Aristotle’s views on demagogues and civic (...) friendship, the nature and circumstances of populism in the U.S., and the Aristotelian remedies that may be helpful in strengthening civic friendship today. (shrink)
Until recently, it was widely assumed in societies with long-established, publicly funded school systems that school attendance served the interests of children, society, and parents alike. In the United States and other common-law jurisdictions, safeguarding and promoting the independent welfare and developmental interests of every child was a public responsibility under the parens patriae doctrine. Compulsory schooling laws enacted under parens patriae authority required all persons having care and control of a child to share their custodial authority with publicly certified (...) teachers for limited periods of time. By compelling all parents to send their children to school, the state ensured that all children had access to instruction and opportunities for social, economic, and civic participation beyond what their parents alone could provide. Parents were incidentally freer to manage the competing demands of domestic life and paid employment, and the enforcement of child labor laws was greatly facilitated by efforts to ensure school attendance. While compulsory schooling laws imposed obvious limits on the custodial authority of all parents for the sake of all children, they were rarely challenged on that basis. Not so today. (shrink)
This paper develops an interpretation and analysis of the arguments for public education which open Book VIII of Aristotle's Politics , drawing on both the wider Aristotelian corpus and on examination of continuities with Plato's Laws . Part III : Sections VIII-XI examine the two arguments which Aristotle adduces in support of the claim that education should be provided through a public system. The first of these arguments concerns the need to unify society through education for friendship and the sharing (...) of a common end. Several versions of his second argument are considered, and the most promising of them is elaborated in connection with an examination of the links between instruction and legislation in the Laws . This yields what is probably the most compelling argument there is for the claim that public supervision of education is a necessary condition for a just society. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to outline a novel rationale for the negligence standard of liability in tort law. On this view, the negligence standard has a causal character which is seldom recognized, but which was recognized by Aristotle, who first formulated the standard. The proposed rationale is extracted from its Aristotelian roots and presented as an alternative to the two others which have been discussed in recent years, both of which are widely regarded as flawed.
The aim of this paper is to articulate the basic elements of a comprehensive ethic of academic administration, organized around a set of three cardinal virtues: commitment to the good of the institution; good administrative judgment; and conscientiousness in discharging the duties of the office. In addition to explaining this framework and defending its adequacy, the paper develops an account of the nature of integrity, and argues that the three cardinal virtues of academic administration can be captured in the concept (...) of integrity in academic administration. The Aristotelian basis for this framework is summarized, and its central ideas are illustrated through a variety of applications. (shrink)
The Handbook of Philosophy of Education is a comprehensive guide to the most important questions about education that are being addressed by philosophers today. Authored by an international team of distinguished philosophers, its thirty-five chapters address fundamental, timely, and controversial questions about educational aims, justice, policy, and practices. Section I (Fundamental Questions) addresses the aims of education, authority to educate, the roles of values and evidence in guiding educational choices, and fundamental questions about human cognition, learning, well-being, and identity. Section (...) II (Virtues of Mind and Character) is concerned with the educational formation of personal attributes that are often seen as essential to flourishing individuals and societies. This section includes chapters on the cultivation of intellectual and character virtues, the nature and formation of expertise, Stoic virtues, and intellectual vices. Section III (Education and Justice) addresses fundamental and emerging issues of educational justice, from equal educational opportunity, racial domination, and linguistic justice in education, to educational problems of mass migration, global educational justice, the education of working children around the world, and the costs of higher education and upward mobility. Section IV (Educational Practices) addresses controversial aspects of contemporary education - pedagogical, curricular, and managerial practices - that deserve careful examination. These include controversies surrounding free speech and instruction in controversial issues; anti-racist, sustainability, and sex education; and the unfulfilled promises and demoralizing impact of high-stakes accountability schemes. The format and jargon-free writing in this volume ensure that topics are interesting and accessible, helping facilitate the work of advanced students and professionals in Education. (shrink)
This paper continues an exchange between its author and Andrew Davis. Part I addresses the attribution and ontological status of mental constructs and argues that philosophical work on these topics does not undermine high stakes testing. Part II examines the significance for testing of the connectedness of meaningful learning. Part III addresses the high stakes in high stakes testing in connection with the risk entailed by limited scoring reliability. It concludes that there is no straightforward relationship between the magnitude of (...) what is at stake for students and teachers and the threshold of acceptable reliability in scoring. (shrink)