Journal of Moral Education 11 (1):18-31 (1981)
Abstract One of the seminal works in the history of educational thought is Rousseau's Emile. This article seeks to examine Rousseau's advocacy of a secular approach to morality and its particular implications for the moral education of the young Emile. A keyword in Rousseau's thinking is nature and an attempt is made to examine critically the naturalistic ethics from which so many of his moral prescriptions were derived. It then proceeds to outline some of the central aspects of his recommendations for the moral education of Emile and incorporates his reflections upon home life, habit?training, punishment, the importance of reason, needs and the value of history as a moral educator. The remainder of the article seeks to show the influence of Rousseau's ideas upon the secularization of moral education, a process which began just after the French Revolution, gathered momentum in the nineteenth century (particularly with the triumph of republicanism and the added impetus given by the influential writings of Durkheim), and saw its full fruition in French schools in the early part of the twentieth century
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