Some of the barriers to the realisation of equality reflect the value of respecting prerogatives people have to favour themselves. Even G.A. Cohen, whose egalitarianism is especially pervasive and demanding, says that.
What is education for? Should it produce workers or educate future citizens? Is there a place for faith schools - and should patriotism be taught? In this compelling and controversial book, Harry Brighouse takes on all these urgent questions and more. He argues that children share four fundamental interests: the ability to make their own judgements about what values to adopt; acquiring the skills that will enable them to become economically self-sufficient as adults; being exposed to a range of activities (...) and experiences that will enable them to flourish in their personal lives; and developing a sense of justice. He criticises sharply those who place the interests of the economy before those of children, and assesses the arguments for and against the controversial issues of faith schools and the teaching of patriotism. Clearly argued but provocative, On Education draws on recent examples from Britain and North America as well as famous thinkers on education such as Aristotle and John Locke. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the present state of education and its future. (shrink)
Some theorists argue that rather than advocating a principle of educational equality as a component of a theory of justice in education, egalitarians should adopt a principle of educational adequacy. This paper looks at two recent attempts to show that adequacy, not equality, constitutes justice in education. It responds to the criticisms of equality by claiming that they are either unsuccessful or merely show that other values are also important, not that equality is not important. It also argues that a (...) principle of educational adequacy cannot be all there is to justice in education. (shrink)
Defends a theory of social justice for education from within an egalitarian version of liberalism. The theory involves a strong commitment to educational equality, and to the idea that children's rights include a right to personal autonomy. The book argues that school reform must always be evaluated from the perspective of social justice and applies the theory, in particular, to school choice proposals. It looks at the parental choice schemes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in England and Wales, and argues that (...) they fall short of the requirements of justice, but that not all such schemes must do so. It elaborates an abstract voucher scheme that would combine choice with justice, and offers ways by which actual choice‐based reform can be modified to meet the requirements of justice. (shrink)
This book brings together a team of leading theorists to address the question 'What is the right measure of justice?' Some contributors, following Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, argue that we should focus on capabilities, or what people are able to do and to be. Others, following John Rawls, argue for focussing on social primary goods, the goods which society produces and which people can use. Still others see both views as incomplete and complementary to one another. Their essays evaluate (...) the two approaches in the light of particular issues of social justice - education, health policy, disability, children, gender justice - and the volume concludes with an essay by Amartya Sen, who originated the capabilities approach. (shrink)
According to the interest theory of rights, the primary function of rights is the protection of fundamental interests. Since children undeniably have fundamental interests that merit protection, it is perfectly sensible to attribute rights, especially welfare rights, to them. The interest theory need not be hostile to the accommodation of rights that protect agency because, at least in the case of adults, there is a strong connection between the protection of agency and the promotion of welfare. Children have welfare rights (...) similar to those of adults. But children lack the agency rights adults have because children initially lack and only gradually develop the kinds of capacities for agency that are necessary for agency rights. Children's rights to culture, religion, and free expression are ill‐conceived. (shrink)
In a period of rapid internationalization of trade and increased labor mobility, is it relevant for nations to think about their moral obligations to others? Do national boundaries have fundamental moral significance, or do we have moral obligations to foreigners that are equal to our obligations to our compatriots? The latter position is known as cosmopolitanism, and this volume brings together a number of distinguished political philosophers and theorists to explore cosmopolitanism: what it consists in, and the positive case which (...) can be made for it. Their essays provide a comprehensive overview of both the current state of the debate and the alternative visions of cosmopolitanism with which we can move forward, and they will interest a wide range of readers in philosophy, political theory, and law. (shrink)
Harry Brighouse’s essay concludes Part I of the book by taking up one aspect of the task of clarifying the role of common education, by applying it to the teaching of patriotism in public schools. He asks whether liberal and cosmopolitan values are compatible with a common education aimed at fostering patriotic attachment to the nation. He examines numerous arguments recently developed to justify fostering patriotism in common schools from a liberal–democratic perspective, and finds them all wanting. However, even if (...) liberal–democratic arguments for teaching patriotism could be found that withstand the criticisms he advances, Brighouse argues that common schools should avoid using history as the vehicle for fostering patriotic loyalty, since even the most honest, clear-sighted, unsentimental attempts to teach national history are likely to degrade and undermine the other purposes that teaching history properly has. The chapter proceeds as follows: Section 6.1, discusses briefly the justifications of patriotism and the further arguments that patriotism is something that should be taught to children in school – and in particular the argument that history is an appropriate vehicle for teaching it; Section 2 casts doubt on the arguments for patriotism and even more doubt on the idea that it should be taught; Section 6.3 argues that history is a discipline particularly inappropriate for conveying patriotic feeling; Section 6.4 concludes. (shrink)
Perhaps the most intractable aspect of gender inequality concerns inequalities within the family around the domestic division of labor, especially over child care and other forms of caregiving. These enduring gender inequalities constitute a significant obstacle to achieving “strong gender egalitarianism”—a structure of social relations in which the division of labor around housework and caregiving within the family and occupational distributions within the public sphere are unaffected by gender. This article explores three kinds of publicly supported parental caregiving leaves that (...) bear on the potential for public policy to transform this private realm of inequality: equality-impeding policies, equality-enabling policies, and equality-promoting policies. The authors defend the third of these as necessary, given the importance of cultural constraints on the slow erosion of the gender division of labor over caregiving activities. (shrink)
In this essay, Harry Brighouse responds to the collection of articles in the current issue of Educational Theory, all concerned with nonideal theorizing in education. First, he argues that some form of ideal theory is indispensable for the nonideal theorizer. Brighouse then proceeds to defend Rawls against some critics of his kind of ideal theorizing by arguing that a central feature that is often misconstrued as unduly idealizing — the full compliance assumption — in fact constrains utopianism. Next, he discusses (...) each of the contributions in turn, and he concludes by sounding a warning that lack of humility is an ever-present danger for nonideal theorizers who seek to evaluate, and provide guidance for, policy and practice. Falling prey to this vice, Brighouse cautions, can seriously dent the value of nonideal scholarship. (shrink)
It is technically possible to clone a human being. The result of the procedure would be a human being in its own right. Given the current level of cloning technology concerning other animals there is every reason to believe that early human clones will have shorter-than-average life-spans, and will be unusually prone to disease. In addition, they would be unusually at risk of genetic defects, though they would still, probably, have lives worth living. But with experimentation and experience, seriously unequal (...) prospects between cloned and noncloned people should erode. We shall ignore arguments about cloning that focus on the potential for harm to the fetus or resultant human being, where harm is understood solely in terms of physical and mental health. Unless the resultant people would generally have lives worth living there is no positive case for cloning, or any other form of reproduction, for that matter. If the resultant beings will generally have lives worth living there is a prima facie case for allowing cloning. We imagine the case in which the resultant beings will have lives well worth living. (shrink)
In arguing for government withdrawal from funding and regulating schooling, James Tooley claims that equality of opportunity in education implies only that all deserve an adequate minimum education. However, he concedes the 'abstract egalitarian thesis' that all should be treated with equal concern and respect. I show that this thesis indeed implies educational equality, and that Tooley's arguments against educational equality rest on a misunderstanding of the foundations of egalitarianism.
This paper considers four institutional models for funding higher education in the light of principles of fairness and meritocracy, with particular reference to the debate in the UK over ‘top-up fees’. It concludes that, under certain plausible but unproven assumptions, the model the UK government has adopted is fairer and more meritocratic than alternatives, including, surprisingly, the Graduate Tax.
This paper is an engagement with Equality by John Baker, Kathleen Lynch, Judy Walsh and Sara Cantillon. It identifies a dilemma for educational egalitarians, which arises within their theory of equality, arguing that sometimes there may be a conflict between advancing equality of opportunity and providing equality of respect and recognition, and equality of love care and solidarity. It argues that the latter values may have more weight in deciding what to do than traditional educational egalitarians have usually thought.
In 1990 at the Jomtein Conference in Thailand organised by UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank the 157 governments present agreed to a Declaration, the World Declaration on Education for All that signalled their commitment to achieve Education for All (EFA) by 2000. EFA was not defined succinctly, but was laid out as comprising: universal access to education services ‘of quality’; equity with regard to removing disparities ‘in access to learning opportunities’ for certain groups (girls.
While it forms the framework for most analytical political philosophy, liberalism is widely attacked and even ridiculed outside that small world. It is, according to one widely accepted line of thinking, tainted by the color and sex of its most prominent formulators, its use in defense of the morally indefensible behavior of imperialist states and their agents, and its presumption that the rights it prescribes are applicable to all people in all places at all times.