Educational Theory 65 (2):203-214 (2015)

Abstract
When the debate over the value of ideal and nonideal theory crosses from political philosophy into philosophy of education, do the implications of the debate shift, and, if so, how? In this piece, Amy Shuffelton considers the premise that no normative political theory, ideal or nonideal, is of any use to human beings unless it can be affiliated with a credible educational theory that connects human beings as they are to human beings as that theory requires them to become. In her response to the five articles in this symposium, Shuffelton addresses their overlapping yet varied treatments of human subjectivity as developed through education. If one accepts that ideal theory is the appropriate starting place for political philosophy because otherwise we would have no polestar by which to orient ourselves, Shuffelton concludes, a corresponding philosophy of education is required to survey the trajectory between here and wherever one aims to go. To do so, it needs to keep its feet on the ground, even as it looks to the stars. If, on the other hand, ideal theory fails to heed the Yankee truism that you can't get there from here, such that philosophers who attempt to do so inevitably get lost on back roads, philosophy of education is still necessary to chart paths to reachable destinations
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DOI 10.1111/edth.12107
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