R.s. Peters and Jürgen Habermas: Presuppositions of practical reason and educational justice

Educational Theory 59 (1):1-15 (2009)

The contribution of philosophical ethics to the development of a just conception of education becomes increasingly complex under modern conditions of democratic pluralism. This is because the justification of moral policies for education faces the skeptical challenge of showing how the substantive moral principles upon which a policy rests do not arbitrarily privilege one culturally situated conception of justice over others. In this essay, Christopher Martin argues that this challenge highlights how any legitimate moral point of view on education requires public justification, where a valid moral policy must be demonstrated to be worthy of recognition in a public setting and justified through the reciprocal exchange of reasons. He develops the scope and nature of public justification through an analysis of R.S. Peters’s Ethics and Education and the work of Jürgen Habermas. Both Peters and Habermas argue that public justification entails necessary and unavoidable presuppositions of practical reason, presuppositions that form the basis of a procedural theory of moral justification. Martin discusses the implications of such a procedural approach for the development of educational policy
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DOI 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2008.00304.x
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