On Education: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

On Education

1st Edition

By Harry Brighouse


160 pages

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pub: 2005-11-01
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What is education for? Should it produce workers or educate future citizens? Is there a place for faith schools - and should patriotism be taught?

In this compelling and controversial book, Harry Brighouse takes on all these urgent questions and more. He argues that children share four fundamental interests: the ability to make their own judgements about what values to adopt; acquiring the skills that will enable them to become economically self-sufficient as adults; being exposed to a range of activities and experiences that will enable them to flourish in their personal lives; and developing a sense of justice.

He criticises sharply those who place the interests of the economy before those of children, and assesses the arguments for and against the controversial issues of faith schools and the teaching of patriotism.

Clearly argued but provocative, On Education draws on recent examples from Britain and North America as well as famous thinkers on education such as Aristotle and John Locke. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the present state of education and its future.


'a rare example of a philosophical discourse with a direct relevance to contemporary policymaking…If forthcoming debates about education policy do not draw heavily on what he has to say here, then they will be severely impoverished' Julian Baggini, Times Educational Supplement

'Clearheaded, acutely perceptive, and utterly lucid, this is the one book about education which everyone can and should make time to read.' - Randall Curren, University of Rochester, USA

'This is a clearly structured and thought-out book…It’s polemical but also introduces the reader to key arguments and issues.' - Stephen Law, Royal Institute of Philosophy

Table of Contents

Part 1: Educational Aims 1. Self-Government: Forming the Autonomous Person 2. Self-Dependence: Preparation for Work 3. Flourishing: Preparation for Life 4. Mutual-Governance: Educating for Democracy Part 2: Controversial Policy Issues 5. Should We Fund Religious Schools? 6. Should Schools Teach Patriotism? 7. Is Citizenship Education Indoctrination? 8. Conclusion

About the Author

Harry Brighouse is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a well-known authority on the philosophy of education and is a regular columnist in the Times Education Supplement. He is the author of Social Choice and Social Justice.

Subject Categories

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