The concept of potential plays a prominent role in the thinking of parents, educators and planners the world over. Although this concept accurately reflects central features of human nature, its current use perpetuates traditional myths of fixity, harmony and value, calculated to cause untold mischief in social and educational practice. First published in 1985, Israel Scheffler's book aims to demythologise the concept of potential. He shows its roots in genuine aspects of human nature, but at the same time frees it from outworn philosophical myths by means of analytical reconstruction - thereby improving both its theoretical and its practical applicability.
The book concludes with an interpretation of policy-making in education, and reflections on the ideal education of a policy-maker. It emphasises human symbolism, choice, temporal continuity, and self-determination as indispensible elements of any adequate philosophy of education. Of Human Potential will be of interest to a broad range of philosophers, educators and social scientists.
Part 1: Human Nature and Value A. Potential in Practice and its Myths B. Human Nature and Potential C. Normative Assumptions: Values Studied and Values Presupposed Part 2: Potential: A Conceptual Framework A. Introduction B. Philosophical Backgrounds C. Reconstructions of Potential D. Potential as Capacity to Become E. Potential as Propensity to Become F. Potential as Capability to Become G. Interrelations of the Three Concepts of Potential Part 3: The Framework: Applied and Illustrated A. Introduction B. Capacity and Potential C. Propensity and Development D. Capability and Choice E. Coda: Demythologising Potential Part 4: The Education of Policy-Makers A. Introduction B. Beyond Technique C. Policy and People D. Policy and Reflexivity E. Policy and Time F. Policy, History and Value