ERIC Number: EJ812539
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
A Politically Liberal Conception of Civic Education
Bull, Barry L.
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v27 n6 p449-460 Nov 2008
Liberal political theory is widely believed to be an inadequate source of civic commitment and thus of civic education primarily because of its commitment to what is perceived as a pervasive individualism. In this paper, I explore the possibility that John Rawls's later political philosophy may provide a response to this belief. I first articulate a conception of liberal politics derived from Rawls's idea of reflective equilibrium that generates an overlapping consensus about political principles among those who hold a wide variety of cultural and personal conceptions of the good. Next I develop the aims for civic education in a society that employs such a politics. Then I suggest the elements of the public school curriculum appropriate for such a civic education, including a robust multicultural education, intellectual reflection on the society's history, and philosophical training that enables children to understand the events and policies of their nation as following from general political principles. I also consider the kinds of classroom practice that seem necessary to provide the motivation to engage in the process of the emergence of an overlapping consensus, including opportunities to develop and to reflect on the principles that may be included in the current consensus and to understand the way in which those principles relate to children's developing conceptions of the good. Finally, I compare this conception of civic education to those of other liberal theorists.
Descriptors: Multicultural Education, Citizenship Education, Political Attitudes, Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Theories, Moral Development, Classroom Environment, Curriculum, History
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A