The ‘new school system’ described in the Schools White Paper (DfE, ) presents religious organisations with two interesting opportunities. The first is an opportunity to play a significantly enhanced role in the management of faith-based schools. The second is an opportunity to rethink quite radically the content of their curricula. In this article I advance a proposal for the consideration of religious organisations: that they take up the opportunity to develop innovative, religiously distinctive curricula whilst eschewing the activity of confessional (...) religious education. I show how non-confessional, faith-based curricula are possible and offer some suggestions about what they might include. (shrink)
In the face of rising concerns about citizenship, national identity, diversity and belonging in Britain today, politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have looked to schools to inspire and invigorate a strong, modern sense of patriotism and common purpose, which is capable of binding people together and motivating citizens to fulfil their obligations to each other and to the state.In this timely and astute analysis, Michael Hand unpacks the claims made on both sides of the debate to assess (...) whether love of country is a defensible aim of education. Remarking on the curious failure of engagement between defenders and opponents of patriotic education, he looks beyond the usual arguments for and against, to offer original insight into whether teaching patriotic attachment can be defended on rational grounds. Rather than looking merely to the practical difficulties of cultivating common bonds without misrepresenting or distorting the country's history, Hand's tightly argued conclusion is that reasonable disagreement about the desirability of loving one's country rules out the explicit teaching of Patriotism in schools, and therefore, it should not be actively promoted but rather taught as a controversial issue in the classroom.Breaking new ground in the intellectual debates around teaching citizenship and promoting common patriotic purpose, Patriotism in Schools is an illuminating treatment of a pressing contemporary issue, which will animate and provoke debate amongst parents, teachers, students, academics, politicians and policy-makers alike. (shrink)
Discussion is widely held to be the pedagogical approach most appropriate to the exploration of controversial issues in the classroom, but surprisingly little attention has been given to the questions of why it is the preferred approach and how best to facilitate it. Here we address ourselves to both questions. We begin by clarifying the concept of discussion and justifying it as an approach to the teaching of controversial issues. We then report on a recent empirical study of the Perspectives (...) on Science AS-level course, focusing on what it revealed about aids and impediments to discussion of controversial ethical issues. (shrink)
Truth’s universal knowability entails its discovery. This threatens antirealism, which is thought to require it. Fortunately, antirealism is not committed to it. Avoiding it requires adoption (and extension) of Dag Prawitz’s position in his long-term disagreement with Michael Dummett on the notion of provability involved in intuitionism’s identification of it with truth. Antirealism (intuitionism generalized) must accommodate a notion of lost-opportunity truth (a kind of recognition-transcendent truth), and even truth consisting in the presence of unperformable verifications. Dummett’s position cannot abide (...) this, while Prawitz’s can. Antirealism’s epistemic notion of truth derives from general features of its meaning theory, not from a universal knowability principle. (shrink)
R.S. Peters' arguments for the worthwhileness of theoretical activities are intended to justify education per se, on the assumption that education is necessarily a matter of initiating people into theoretical activities. If we give up this assumption, we can ask whether Peters' arguments might serve instead to justify the academic curriculum over other curricular arrangements. For this they would need to show that theoretical activities are not only worthwhile but, in some relevant sense, more worthwhile than activities of other kinds. (...) I argue that Peters' hedonistic and transcendental arguments do not show this, but that his account of theoretical activities is suggestive of an instrumental argument which might fit the bill. (shrink)
How should patriotism be handled in schools? We argue that schools cannot afford to ignore the topic, but nor are they justified in either promoting or discouraging patriotic feeling in students. The only defensible policy is for schools to adopt a stance of neutrality and teach the topic as a controversial issue. We go on to show that there is general support among British teachers and students for school neutrality on patriotism and that the currently preferred classroom practice is to (...) address patriotic ideas in the context of open discussion. We conclude with some discussion of the extensive and often hostile coverage of our research in the British press. (shrink)
In a recent paper in BJES, John Wilson (2002) examines the question of the desirability of education and argues that the enterprise can only be justified if it is thought to be necessary 'as a means of salvation'. Here I expose a number of flaws in Wilson's argument and defend a rather more prosaic justificatory strategy.
The so-called knowability paradox results from Fitch's argument that if there are any unknown truths, then there are unknowable truths. This threatens recent versions of semantical antirealism, the central thesis of which is that truth is epistemic. When this is taken to mean that all truths are knowable, antirealism is thus committed to the conclusion that no truths are unknown. The correct antirealistic response to the paradox should be to deny that the fundamental thesis of the epistemic nature of truth (...) entails the knowability of all truths. Correctly understood, the antirealistic conditions on a proposition's truth do not require that the proposition possess a verification-procedure which, when executed under the given conditions, issues in an agent's recognition of truth, but merely that there be a verification-procedure which, under these conditions, takes the value true . The knowability paradox and the related idealism problem (that antirealism seems, but is not, committed to the necessary existence of an epistemic agent) draw attention to the fact that certain propositions, those that are about verification-procedures themselves, may under certain conditions take the value true despite their unperformability under these circumstances. Thus these propositions' procedures can only be performed when the propositions are false, and they gain the appearance of antirealistic impossibility (e.g., that there is an unknown truth). This differs from the unperformability that antirealists object to, pertaining merely to matters of execution rather than to the logical structure of the procedures themselves. The force of antirealism's notion of epistemic truth is piecemeal, rather than consisting in a blanket characterization of truth as knowable. (shrink)
Adding branching quantification to a first-order language increases the expressive power of the language,without adding to its ontology. The present paper is a defense of this claim against Quine (1970) and Patton (1991).
Serious difficulties attend the reading of David Hilbert's 1925 classic paper ?On the infinite?. I claim that the peculiarities of presentation plaguing certain parts of that paper, as well as of the earlier ?On the Foundations of Logic and Arithmetic? (1904), are due to a tension between two incompatible semantical approaches to numerical statements of elementary arithmetic, and accordingly two incompatible metaphysical conceptions of the natural numbers. One of these approaches is the referential, or model-theoretical one; the other is the (...) iterativist's approach. I draw out the two tendencies in these works, with more attention paid to Hilbert's iterativistic tendency because of the unfamiliarity of iterativism generally. I begin with an exposition of this view. (shrink)
The structure of strategies for semantical games is studied by means of a new formalism developed for the purpose. Rigorous definitions of strategy, winning strategy, truth, and falsity are presented. Non-contradiction and bivalence are demonstrated for the truth-definition. The problem of the justification of deduction is examined from this perspective. The rules of a natural deduction system are justified: they are seen to guarantee existence of a winning strategy for the defender in the semantical game for the conclusion, given winning (...) strategies for that player in the games for the premises. Finally, it is shown how semantical games and the truth-definition can be given for languages lacking individual constants. *** DIRECT SUPPORT *** AZ902009 00003. (shrink)