‘This is an extremely important book. Wonderfully well researched and written, it develops a powerful argument about how we should conceive of the aims of education and design curricula. It should define the field for a very considerable period of time.’ - Professor Michael J Reiss, Institute of Education, University of London, UK
Many philosophers of education believe that the main aim of education is to endow students with personal autonomy, producing citizens who are reflective, make rational choices, and submit their values and beliefs to critical scrutiny. This book argues that the ‘good life’ need not be the life of the philosopher, politician or critical thinker, but that an ordinary ‘unexamined’ life is also worth living. Central to this ethical life is the engagement in worthwhile activities or ‘practices’, and the best way to prepare pupils for their engagement in these practices is to cultivate a range of moral and intellectual virtues.
In this book, Alistair Miller brings together a range of philosophical and historical perspectives to argue for a new vision of liberal education: liberal in the sense that it forms a moral and cultural inheritance, new in the sense that it would enable all pupils to lead flourishing lives. Divided into two sections, the first part of the book seeks to establish the justified aims of education in a liberal democratic society; the second part explores the nature of the school curriculum that might realise these aims.
A New Vision of Liberal Education will appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of philosophy of education, moral and values education, liberal education, and curriculum studies.
Introduction Part 1: The Justified Aims of Education Enlightenment Rationality: The problem of integrating reason and desire. Aristotelian Ethics: The role of habituation and phronesis in moral development. The Rationality of Traditions. The Nature of the Good Life and the Virtues Needed to Sustain It Part 2: A Liberal Education for All Two Traditions of Liberal Education. The Research Ideal: A justification of specialist study. The Rhetorical Ideal: A justification of rhetoric and the humanities. Character Education. Conclusion.