ERIC Number: EJ686759
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb
Satisfied Fools: Using J. S. Mill's Notion of Utility to Analyse the Impact of Vocationalism in Education within a Democratic Society
Tarrant, Iona; Tarrant, James
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v38 n1 p107-120 Feb 2004
This paper proposes a new interpretation of John Stuart Mill's notion of utility, which is used to provide a utilitarian justification for an eclectic, rather than a vocational, education. Vocational education is strongly promoted in recent policy documents, which makes it important to raise the question of justification. Many existing interpretations of Mill's utilitarianism argue for a hierarchy of pleasures. Although this enables one to justify an eclectic education, it is an interpretation that could be dismissed as un-utilitarian. This paper proposes an alternative interpretation of Mill's notion of utility as a hierarchy of preferences. Our interpretation not only provides grounds for justifying an eclectic or critical education, it is also consistent with utilitarianism as an ethical theory. The paper also shows how the resultant curricula will better support democracy and participation in civil society.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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