The main focus of this book is the normative or ethical aspects of sustainability, including matters of justice in governance that is important to sustainability. The idea of sustainability is widely perceived as having a normative dimension, often referred to as equity, but the character of this normative dimension is seldom explored. The book aims to fill this gap in the literature of sustainability. It proposes a conceptualization of sustainability that is geared to clarifying its essential ethical structure. It frames (...) sustainability in terms of the capacity of natural systems to provide opportunities to live well, as well as the conduciveness of human practices and systems to preserving such opportunity into the distant future. It develops the idea of sustainability as an art of preserving opportunity to live well – an ethically and scientifically grounded political art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future. (shrink)
Aristotle regarded law and education as the two fundamental and deeply interdependent tools of political art, making the use of education by the statesman a topic of the first importance in his practical philosophy. The present work develops the first comprehensive treatment of this neglected topic, and assesses the importance of Aristotle's defense of public education for current debates about school choice and privatization, and educational equality.
Aristotle presents his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics as an ordered pair comprising political science (hê politikê epistêmê), suggesting an axiomatic structure of theorems that are demonstratively deduced from first principles. He holds that this systematic knowledge of ethical and legislative matters provides the ‘universals’ essential to phronesis or practical wisdom, and that its acquisition begins in sound habituation. Aristotle thereby assigns habituation an epistemic role that must be understood in light of his account of the nature of a science. This (...) paper argues that what would be inductively established by, or on the basis of, sound habituation is the supposition that the natural kind of activity constitutive of living well exists; it establishes the supposition on which Aristotle’s definition of a eudaimon life rests. Having addressed this central interpretive issue, the paper sketches a psychologically grounded position on the substantive philosophical questions at stake. Are there natural signs of flourishing and failure to flourish present to us in our experience of attempts to live well? If such signs exist but are not sufficient to qualify ethical beliefs as knowledge in their own right, might they play a role in a science of what is good and bad for human beings? (shrink)
The central question for this book is whether schools should attempt to cultivate patriotism, and if so why, how, and with what conception of patriotism in mind. The promotion of patriotism has figured prominently in the history of public schooling in the United States, always with the idea that patriotism is both an inherently admirable attribute and an essential motivational basis for good citizenship. It has been assumed, in short, that patriotism is a virtue in its own right and that (...) it is a foundational aspect of civic virtue more generally. -/- Through an integrated historical and philosophical approach, this book demonstrates that there have been many and diverse attempts to cultivate patriotism in public schools in the United States and that they have been predicated on different conceptions of patriotism, citizenship, and learning. -/- In order to assess these assumptions and evaluate the various practices of patriotic education, we address the nature of virtue and the motivational foundations of civic responsibility, and we frame a general approach to the ethics of education. We find that the history of attempts to cultivate patriotism in schools offers both cautionary and positive lessons. We argue that there is a virtuous form of patriotism and that an inclusive and enabling just school community may contribute to its development. Yet, we conclude that patriotism is not a virtue as such. We argue that civic virtue is what schools should aim to cultivate, and that civic education should be organized around three components of civic virtue, namely civic intelligence, civic friendship, and civic competence. We hold that virtuous patriotism is an appropriate responsiveness to a country’s value, and that such responsiveness is part and parcel of civic virtue that is also responsive to what has value beyond one’s own country. The book concludes with a defense of global civic education, arguing that it should promote global civic friendship and cooperation. The book situates its understanding of patriotism in the context of nationalist, populist, and authoritarian movements in the United States and Europe, and it mounts a spirited defense of democratic institutions that should be of interest to anyone concerned about the polarization of public life and future of democracy. (shrink)
This article is a précis of the book, Living well now and in the future: Why sustainability matters. It provides an overview of the book, focusing especially on its conceptualization of the nature and normative dimensions of sustainability. The latter include its formulation of an ethic of sustainability and eudaimonic theory of justice. Some central claims are that the fundamental normative concern of sustainability is the long-term preservation of opportunity to live well, and that the conceptualization of preservation of opportunity (...) should be focused on the satisfaction of basic psychological needs associated with fulfillment of potential. (shrink)
Ethical dimensions of friendship have rarely been explicitly addressed as aspects of friendship quality in studies of children's peer relationships. This study identifies aspects of moral virtue significant for friendship, as a basis for empirically investigating the role of ethical qualities in children's friendship assessments and aspirations. We introduce a eudaimonic conception of friendship quality, identify aspects of moral virtue foundational to such quality, review and contest some grounds on which children have been regarded as not mature enough to have (...) friendships that require virtue, and report a qualitative study of the friendship assessments and aspirations of children aged nine and ten. In focus group sessions conducted in ten schools across Great Britain, moral qualities figured prominently in children's assessments of friendship quality. The findings provide evidence of children having friendships exhibiting mutual respect, support, and valuing of each other's good character. (shrink)
This paper assesses the historical meaning and contemporary significance of Aristotle’s educational ideas. It begins with a broad characterization of the project of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, which he calls “political science” (hê politikê epistêmê), and the central place of education in his vision of statesmanship. It proceeds through a series of topics fundamental to his educational ideas, culminating in the account of education in Politics VIII. A concluding section appraises the uses to which Aristotelian ideas are currently put (...) in philosophy of education, identifying some confusions in the influential literature of “practices.”. (shrink)
_A Companion to the Philosophy of Education_ is a comprehensive guide to philosophical thinking about education. Offers a state-of-the-art account of current and controversial issues in education, including issues pertaining to multiculturalism, special education, sex education, and academic freedom. Written by an international team of leading experts, who are directly engaged with these profound and complex educational problems. Serves as an indispensable guide to the field of philosophy of education.
The aim of this article is to outline the basis for a comprehensive account of educational rights. It begins by acknowledging the difficulties posed by diversity, and defends a conception of universal human rights that limits parental educational discretion. Against the backdrop of the literature of public reason and fair equality of opportunity, it sketches arguments for the existence of rights to education of some specific kinds. Those rights, and associated educational purposes, are systematised on the basis of a conception (...) of education as initiation into practices that express human flourishing. (shrink)
This paper addresses a puzzle about moral learning concerning its social context and the potential for moral progress: Won't the social context of moral learning shape moral perceptions, beliefs, and motivation in ways that will inevitably limit moral motivation, perceptiveness, and progress? It addresses the relationships between habituation and moral reasoning in Aristotelian moral education, and assesses Julia Annas’s attempt to defend the possibility of moral progress within a virtue ethical framework. Focusing on the motivational core of the puzzle, the (...) paper argues that Self-determination Theory provides resources for better understanding how moral progress is possible and how moral education can facilitate such progress. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to revive a tradition of educational thought that identifies good judgment as the highest aim of education. It identifies sharply opposed manifestations of this tradition in the works of Aristotle and Locke, and uses these as points of departure in defending and exploring the tradition. The defense rests on the claims that the basic aim of educational institutions should be to enable people to live well and that good judgment is essential to living well. (...) The relationships between good judgment and other widely discussed educational aims are addressed, including autonomy, fulfillment of potential, and acquisition of knowledge. Curricular and pedagogical aspects of the promotion of good judgment are addressed, and the paper concludes by identifying potential benefits as well as limitations associated with the conditions of epistemic dependence. (shrink)
Character education in schools has been high on the UK political agenda for the last few years. The government has invested millions in grants to support character education projects and declared its intention to make Britain a global leader in teaching character and resilience. But the policy has many critics: some question whether schools should be involved in the formation of character at all; others worry that the traits schools are being asked to cultivate are excessively competitive or military. In (...) this pamphlet Randall Curren sets out a robust defence of character education. He welcomes the political support it presently enjoys, but contends that greater clarity about the nature, benefits and acquisition of good character is essential. In particular, he argues that too narrow a focus on traits like perseverance and resilience is a serious mistake: these traits are only virtues when they are part of a wider set of moral and intellectual qualities, and when their exercise is guided by good judgment. Curren offers us a compelling and coherent account of what good character is and how it might be cultivated in schools. He explains why schools must be needs-supporting environments that provide students with opportunities to engage in rewarding activity, and why cultivating good character implies promoting the ‘fundamental British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance. His groundbreaking pamphlet promises to expand the scope and strengthen the foundations of character education in British schools, and should go a long way towards allaying the fears of its detractors. (shrink)
Until recently, it was widely assumed in societies with long-established, publicly funded school systems that school attendance served the interests of children, society, and parents alike. In the United States and other common-law jurisdictions, safeguarding and promoting the independent welfare and developmental interests of every child was a public responsibility under the parens patriae doctrine. Compulsory schooling laws enacted under parens patriae authority required all persons having care and control of a child to share their custodial authority with publicly certified (...) teachers for limited periods of time. By compelling all parents to send their children to school, the state ensured that all children had access to instruction and opportunities for social, economic, and civic participation beyond what their parents alone could provide. Parents were incidentally freer to manage the competing demands of domestic life and paid employment, and the enforcement of child labor laws was greatly facilitated by efforts to ensure school attendance. While compulsory schooling laws imposed obvious limits on the custodial authority of all parents for the sake of all children, they were rarely challenged on that basis. Not so today. (shrink)
This review essay examines some central aspects of Kristján Kristjánsson’s book, Aristotelian Character Education, beginning with the claim that contemporary virtue ethics provides methodological, ontological, epistemological, and moral foundations for Aristotelian character education. It considers three different formulations of what defines virtue ethics, and suggests that virtue ethical moral theory has steered character educators away from important aspects of Aristotle’s views on character education. It goes on to suggest a broadening of attention to psychology beyond personality and the psychological status (...) of virtues, and it concludes with an examination of Kristjánsson’s understanding of phronesis. (shrink)
In this essay, Randall Curren identifies a type of liberalism that incorporates empirical claims about the development of agency and rationality, and responds to the criticism that liberalism rests on an incoherent conception of autonomous agency. He argues that moral agents did indeed “become ghosts” somewhere en route from Aristotle to Kant, but not for the reasons supposed, nor with the consequences for liberalism alleged by its critics. Curren concludes that an Aristotelian form of developmental liberalism, resting on a conception (...) of rational agency as embodied, incremental, and developmentally contingent on social and circumstantial factors, can survive the familiar critiques of the “liberal self” and enable the liberal tradition to further expand the range of educational matters it can fruitfully address. (shrink)
This paper develops an interpretation and analysis of the arguments for public education which open Book VIII of Aristotle's Politics , drawing on both the wider Aristotelian corpus and on examination of continuities with Plato's Laws . Part III : Sections VIII-XI examine the two arguments which Aristotle adduces in support of the claim that education should be provided through a public system. The first of these arguments concerns the need to unify society through education for friendship and the sharing (...) of a common end. Several versions of his second argument are considered, and the most promising of them is elaborated in connection with an examination of the links between instruction and legislation in the Laws . This yields what is probably the most compelling argument there is for the claim that public supervision of education is a necessary condition for a just society. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to outline a novel rationale for the negligence standard of liability in tort law. On this view, the negligence standard has a causal character which is seldom recognized, but which was recognized by Aristotle, who first formulated the standard. The proposed rationale is extracted from its Aristotelian roots and presented as an alternative to the two others which have been discussed in recent years, both of which are widely regarded as flawed.
This paper continues an exchange between its author and Andrew Davis. Part I addresses the attribution and ontological status of mental constructs and argues that philosophical work on these topics does not undermine high stakes testing. Part II examines the significance for testing of the connectedness of meaningful learning. Part III addresses the high stakes in high stakes testing in connection with the risk entailed by limited scoring reliability. It concludes that there is no straightforward relationship between the magnitude of (...) what is at stake for students and teachers and the threshold of acceptable reliability in scoring. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to articulate the basic elements of a comprehensive ethic of academic administration, organized around a set of three cardinal virtues: commitment to the good of the institution; good administrative judgment; and conscientiousness in discharging the duties of the office. In addition to explaining this framework and defending its adequacy, the paper develops an account of the nature of integrity, and argues that the three cardinal virtues of academic administration can be captured in the concept (...) of integrity in academic administration. The Aristotelian basis for this framework is summarized, and its central ideas are illustrated through a variety of applications. (shrink)