The Central Role of Philosophy in a Study of Community Dialogues

Studies in Philosophy and Education 34 (2):193-203 (2015)
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The project we highlight in this article stems from our philosophical work on moral disagreements that appear to be—and sometimes are—intractable. Deliberative democratic theorists tout the merits of dialogue as an effective way to bridge differences of values and opinion, ideally resulting in agreement, or perhaps more often resulting in greater mutual understanding. Could dialogue mitigate disagreements about a controversial education policy such as affirmative action? Could it foster greater understanding? We conceived of a project that would simultaneously fulfill two goals that we had as philosophers, education researchers, and aspiring public intellectuals. First, it would allow us to use philosophy in research, grounding our mixed methods research in a philosophically informed framework. The tools and analytic techniques that are particular to philosophers felt uniquely suited for an empirical study concerning political theory. Second, we aimed to use philosophy in the community. We were able to put our own expertise in philosophy and race-conscious education policy to good use by purposefully creating opportunities for diverse community members in our larger metropolitan area to engage in dialogue and deliberation with each other over the issue of affirmative action.



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Amelia Farley
Washington University in St. Louis

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References found in this work

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Why Deliberative Democracy?Amy Gutmann & Dennis F. Thompson - 2004 - Princeton University Press.
Democracy and Disagreement.Amy Gutmann - 1996 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Democracy and Disagreement.Amy Gutmann & Dennis Thompson - 1996 - Ethics 108 (3):607-610.
Delibration and Democratic Legitimacy.Joshua Cohen - 1989 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.

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