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ERIC Number: EJ1000297
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Realizing the Natural Self: Rousseau and the Current System of Education
Peckover, Christopher
Philosophical Studies in Education, v43 p84-94 2012
Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that Nature is master. Children acknowledge this truth perhaps better than most adults. Nature gives life to humanity and provides humans with the tools necessary to survive. Even as an infant, Nature urges the child to scream for nourishment. As children, humans trust their master. The idea of resisting their human nature does not exist. Although it is not natural for humans to remain children, it is also not natural for humans to resist Nature. But as the child matures into adulthood, social conditions deceive humans into thinking control is in the hands of humanity. The urge to heed Nature's call and fulfill one's self with natural sustenance is suppressed and replaced with the illusion of control. It is this attempt by humans to feed on the unnatural sustenance of control that leaves them starving for something more. For humans to satiate their hunger pangs, they must heed the call of Nature. Humans must be allowed to connect with the nature of their being. Modern society disrupts this connection through formal education. In the United States, formal education has been standardized. Education in the United States is not about connecting with the nature of one's being, but about the attempt to control the future by manipulating both one's natural urges and the natural environment to ensure individual economic gain. For a single human being, this illusion of control rests on the manipulation of one's actions. For a society of human beings, controlling the future requires all members to act in a predictable pattern in a predictable environment. Rousseau argues that a proper education is one that does not include constructs created by humans for the purpose of controlling other humans. A proper education is one that allows Nature to teach humans according to their nature. (Contains 40 footnotes.)
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A