The epistemological conditions of moral education: The notions of rationality and objectivity revisited

Educational Theory 61 (5):533-548 (2011)
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The crucial epistemological question for formulating the principles that underlie moral education concerns the status of rationality and objectivity in ethics and education. In this essay Katariina Holma argues that the intertwined understanding of the concepts of education, ethics, rationality, and objectivity is built into our language and our thinking. She begins by delineating epistemologically adequate interpretations for the notions of rationality and objectivity. In light of these interpretations, Holma contends that the two main contemporary philosophical arguments against the possibility of ethical objectivity — the argument that derives from cultural relativism and the argument that derives from the scientific worldview — fail to refute this possibility. The epistemological notions of rationality and objectivity, as Holma interprets them in this essay, prepare the way for a moral education that combines the appreciation of personal and cultural plurality with the possibility for critical thinking and the pursuit of better understanding in the ethical realm



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