A New Vision of Liberal Education: The good of the unexamined life, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A New Vision of Liberal Education

The good of the unexamined life, 1st Edition

By Alistair Miller


210 pages

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Paperback: 9781138555426
pub: 2017-08-30
Hardback: 9781138923591
pub: 2015-08-06
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pub: 2015-07-24
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‘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.

Table of Contents

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.

About the Author

Alistair Miller recently completed his doctorate in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, UK. His academic research interests include the history and philosophy of liberal education, positive psychology, moral philosophy and philosophy of mind, and he has contributed to a number of books and journals on these topics.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Will Bateman: [email protected] – Editor, UK and Rest of World

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects