Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History

Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (1):123-141 (2009)
Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects, pursued for intrinsic as well as practical ends. Does history reveal good reasons for this view? The view itself has roots going back to the 16th century and the educational tradition of radical Protestantism. Religious arguments to do with restoring the image of an omniscient God in man made good sense, within their own terms, of an encyclopaedic approach to education. As these faded in prominence after 1800, old curricular patterns persisted in the drive for ‘middle-class schools’, and new, less plausible justifications grew in salience. These were based first on faculty psychology and later on the psychology of individual differences. The essay relates the views of Peters and Hirst to these historical arguments, asking how far their writings show traces of the religious argument mentioned, and how their views on education and the development of mind relate to the psychological arguments
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2009.00718.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive John White, Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Kubilay Kaptan (2016). Role of Methodology in Action Research. Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4).

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

240 ( #12,419 of 1,941,073 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

55 ( #6,848 of 1,941,073 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.