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Mutual respect and civic education

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (1):112-128 (2010)
Contemporary theories of civic education frequently appeal to an ideal of mutual respect in the context of ethical, ethical and religious disagreement. This paper critically examines two recently popular criticisms of this ideal. The first, coming from a postmodern direction, charges that the ideal is hypocritical in its effort to be maximally impartial and fair. The second, which I associate with such 'new atheists' as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, argues that notions of mutual respect pose a threat to such basic goals of education as the cultivation of critical thinking.
Keywords Stanley Fish  Sam Harris  respect  tolerance  William Connolly
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