This article is a collective writing experiment undertaken by philosophers of education affiliated with the PESGB (Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain). When asked to reflect on questions concerning the Philosophy of Education in a New Key in May 2020, it was unsurprising that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on society and on education were foremost in our minds. We wanted to consider important philosophical and educational questions raised by the pandemic, while acknowledging that, first and foremost, it (...) is a human tragedy. With nearly a million deaths reported worldwide to date, and with everyone effected in one way or another by Covid-19, there is a degree of discomfort, and a responsibility to be sensitive, in reflecting and writing about it academically. Members of this ‘Covid Collective’ come from various countries, with perspectives from Great Britain and Ireland well represented, and we see academic practice as a globally connected enterprise, especially since the digital revolution in academic publishing. The concerns raised in this article relate to but move beyond Covid-19, reflecting the impact of neoliberalism [and other political developments] on geopolitics with educational concerns as central to our focus. (shrink)
There remains much to be learned from searching exploration of the great authors who have meditated on education. Montaigne is one such thinker and this essay endeavors to draw together the strands of his pedagogy and to demonstrate how they gain purchase in the business of teaching and learning. The article also proposes to supplement his vision with practical examples from fiction and autobiography. Perhaps the most striking theme is the need to be able to decentre from the comfort zone (...) of acquired beliefs and convictions and the crucial role played by conversation in cultivating the intellectual and moral openness in order to do so. At the heart of Montaigne’s writing on education is what can be called a pedagogy of conversation. (shrink)
The work of Michael Oakeshott has retained a striking currency in philosophical discourse about education. This is hardly surprising in view of his influence on Paul Hirst and Richard Peters, two philosophers whose work had an enormous impact on educational thinking and practice in the English-speaking world. And, although much of the detail in educational debate may change, the fundamental underlying concerns regarding the conception of the person, the nature of knowledge and the moral life and their expression in educational (...) institutions and activities remain subject of disagreement. In the light of this continuing interest and of Oakeshott’s extensive writing on so many aspects of education, it is timely that a book be published on his thinking on the subject. (shrink)
This paper applies Oakeshott’s distinction between work and play to his philosophy of language education. The first part explores his critique of the vocational rationale for learning foreign languages and his affirmation of the intrinsic value or playful character of the activity. The second part of the article endeavours to give practical content to Oakeshott’s vision of studying language for the pleasure of the activity by drawing on sources that reflect the character of the experience in terms of playfulness.
This article explores, in the French context, an aspect of what Terence McLaughlin (1991) has described in an unpublished paper as the ‘dilemma of substantiality’ faced by any school system endeavouring to promote neutrality. In France, in order that the public or common school be genuinely open to all students, not only is the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols forbidden but so too is any direct teaching of religion. The cultural consequences resulting from this prohibition have led to the mandating (...) of cross-curricular teaching about religion. This article aims to show that the civic principles (la laïcité) on which this teaching is based pose in an acute and problematic form the ‘dilemma of substantiality’. (shrink)
A number of authors from different theoretical perspectives have called for new interdisciplinary ways of considering learning within the higher education context. Peter Jarvis’s lifelong learning perspective offers a viable alternative, but lacks a strong theory of the person as self, agent and actor. In response I propose that Margaret Archer’s realist social theory has a particular utility for bridging ‘common dualisms’ as part of an interdisciplinary enquiry into higher education learning, and offers a strong theory of the person.
This article reviews the arguments in the separate schools debate in an attempt to present a view of the matter which would be acceptable in a liberal democracy. Although the case for common or inclusive schools is treated sympathetically, the burden of the argument is that public sponsorship of separate schools can be defended once certain conditions are met.
Paul Hirst’s reconceptualization of his epistemology provides a basis for this exploration of the various aspects of the rationale for teaching literature. The article reflects the close analysis of knowledge and the curriculum in his early work and develops insights in his later work. This leads to the identification of five strands that form the rationale for the role of literature within the curriculum. The first strand refers to the knowledge of context, cultural background, or information necessary to engage with (...) many works of literature. The second strand concerns the role of literature in providing pleasure. The third strand considers the role of literature in offering multiple forms of understanding and insight. Strands four and five address the place of literature in the educational context. The fourth strand refers to the possibilities offered for education in language by the close study of literary texts. The fifth strand concerns the honing of the ability to propose and defend arguments in the interpretation of texts as a conduit to the development of one aspect of practical reason. (shrink)
This article argues that doctors and other health care professionals should be obliged to provide emergency treatment to those in immediate and nearby need regardless of the absence of any prior professional relationship between the parties. It concludes that the common law should accordingly recognize a specific duty of ‘medical rescue’. It examines some of the conventional objections to affirmative duties, finding them unconvincing in this particular context. It draws on two recent appellate decisions, one Australian and the other English, (...) for support, as well as on more general arguments concerning moral sentiment, professional ethics, public expectation, and respect for human rights. (shrink)
This article is based on an analysis of two types of argument, called utilitarian and educational respectively, which are commonly used to justify the teaching of modern/foreign languages in schools. Serious flaws are identified in the utilitarian arguments often employed to defend the teaching of modern languages and different educational arguments which might be offered as justification for their inclusion in the school curriculum are distinguished and appraised. The paper concludes with a consideration of the implications of the foregoing analysis (...) for the place of modern languages in the school curriculum. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: The Common School in France and Britain LAïCITÉ: Some Matters of Definition Understanding the Context Faith, Culture and the School The Role of the School The Epistemological Status of Religious Studies Religious Illiteracy: The Policy Response Religion, Neutrality and the Logic of LAïCITÉ Religious Worldviews and the Teaching of Literature Notes References.
Through an examination of selected documents, this article explores the role which the Irish state attributed to education in promoting the Christian, specifically Catholic, identity of its young citizens. The essay also examines the evidence of a desire to distance the state from a direct role in reinforcing the religious dimensions of cultural identity and of an endeavour to reconcile respect for the nation's Christian heritage with respect for other versions of human self-understanding.
This article considers the role of religion in general cultural initiation. The thrust of the argument pursued here is that, even in secular environments, schooling should offer some level of initiation into religious sensibility. Without this initiation, young people will not be in a position to engage with the religious dimension of general culture.
The European dimension of civic education can allow educators to promote many positive elements of internationalism. These include the promotion of general respect for the rule of law and for human rights and of commitment to democratic and egalitarian principles. This paper accepts these aspects of the European dimension in civic education. What it objects to is the attempt, through education, to change the focus of the political allegiance of young people by promoting the notion of ‘European citizenship’. Support for (...) the valuable elements in the European dimension of civic education does not entail support for a contrived notion of citizenship for inhabitants of nations who have long civic traditions of their own. In the first section of the paper, the project of appropriating education to engineer political loyalty to the ‘New Europe’ is criticized. The second part of the article draws attention to certain unacknowledged difficulties in conceptualizing the shared identity which would be required in order to animate and sustain a sense of ‘European citizenship’. (shrink)
Vocationalism is distinguished from vocational education and distinctions are drawn between the various senses in which vocationalism or the pursuit of vocational ‘relevance’ can be understood. The burden of the argument of the essay is that vocationalism, understood as teaching skills in virtue of their putative vocational usefulness or relevance, is misguided both on prudential and educational grounds. A basis for some reconciliation between liberal and vocational learning is found in the fact that learning for its own sake and learning (...) for vocational purposes need not be conceived as mutually exclusive activities. (shrink)
It is no more than a platitude to say that philosophy has tended to be pursued in different ways in France and in the English-speaking world. I have to confess that I do not resonate to some of the French texts (the work of Foucault and Lyotard, for example) referred to by colleagues in philosophy of education. Much of this seems to me to be reprising the case about the relationship between power and exploitation that entered into popular discourse following (...) the riots of May 1968 in France. However, examination of themes and articles in this Journal alongside those in Télémaque, founded in 1994, reveals a growing convergence in choice of, and approach to, philosophical issues. The reader now gets a sense of a scholarly community using different languages but nonetheless involved in a common enterprise. (shrink)
Despite his elusiveness on important issues, there is much in Michael Oakeshott's educational vision that Richard Peters quite rightly wishes to endorse. The main aim of this essay is, however, to consider Peters' justifiable critique of three features of Oakeshott's work. These are (1) the rigidity of his distinction between vocational and university education, (2) the lack of clarity and accuracy in his philosophy of teaching and learning, especially the under-conceptualisation of the role of example in teaching, (3) the over-emphasis (...) on tradition in moral and civic learning. (shrink)