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Education and the Ethics of Democratic Character

Mark Evans

Synthesis Philosophica, Volume: 25, Issue: 1

Swansea University Author: Mark Evans

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Abstract

This article argues, first of all, that much educational practice in liberal-democratic society officially aims to promote what I call a democratic character-ideal for the citizens of the future. It embodies the Deweyian belief that democracy is not just a form of polity but also a way of life in wh...

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Published in: Synthesis Philosophica
ISSN: 0352-7875
Published: 2010
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa14553
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Abstract: This article argues, first of all, that much educational practice in liberal-democratic society officially aims to promote what I call a democratic character-ideal for the citizens of the future. It embodies the Deweyian belief that democracy is not just a form of polity but also a way of life in which individuals can flourish in socially just circumstances. The demanding nature of the ideal may appear to be a problem for it, but I demonstrate how this is not so. What is a problem is the extent to which the actual theory and practice of education is diverting from the ideal, regardless of official protestations to the contrary. Deweyian insights into the links between forms of education and forms of society suggest that the democratic character-ideal’s current betrayal or abandonment should yield a radical critique of how considerations of contemporary capitalist economics are undermining what remain widely cherished aspirations of how it is good to live, and how education should help us to achieve those aspirations.
Keywords: John Dewy education democracy ethical character neo-liberalism
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 1
End Page: 91