Creating public values: Schools as moral habitats

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (4):410-423 (2010)
This paper will consider the role of schools, as a particular moral habitat in the formation of moral virtues and how the inculcation of a comprehensive private moral system of beliefs, values and practices leads to public values in a multicultural, pluralist society. It is argued that the formation of good persons ensures the formation of good citizens and that governments should therefore support good moral education rather than seek to impose national public values or to concentrate on developing good citizens only. The recognition that moral values are learnt within particular private moral systems of values, that it is these on which common public values rely for support and that there are a variety of such comprehensive private moral systems also means that a variety of schools need to be supported. One condition which such schools need to fulfil is that the comprehensive private moral system of beliefs which they inculcate in their students is based on a recognition of the universal applicability of the moral principles that they endorse.
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