Spirituality, Philosophy and Education

Spirituality, Philosophy and Education

Spirituality, Philosophy and Education

Spirituality, Philosophy and Education


The possibilities and importance of a spiritual dimension to education are subjects receiving increased consideration from educational practitioners, policymakers and philosophers. Spirituality, Philosophy and Education brings together contributions to the debate by a team of renowned philosophers of education. They bring to this subject a depth of scholarly and philosophical sophistication that was previously missing, and between them offer a wide-ranging exploration and analysis of what spiritual values have to offer contemporary education. The contributors address such subjects as what we mean by 'spiritual values'; scholarship and spirituality; spirituality and virtue; spirituality, science and morality; the shaping of character; the value of spiritual learning; spiritual development and the curriculum and many others. All students of the philosophy of education and anyone interested in how spiritual values might play a part in informing education policy and practice will find this stimulating collection a rich source of ideas and a major addition to the thinking on the meaning, role and possibilities of spirituality in education.


David Carr and John Haldane


This collection of essays is unusual in its theme. It derives from a longstanding interest of the editors in its concerns, and (to lesser and greater degrees) follows from two previous academic gatherings which they convened in Scotland. The first of these was an international conference on philosophy, education and culture held at the University of Edinburgh in 1997, of which the organiser was David Carr. The second was a smaller meeting on spirituality, philosophy and education arranged by John Haldane at St Andrews University in 2001. (The latter was held under the auspices of the Centre for Philosophy and Public Affairs, which was also one of the sponsors of the earlier Edinburgh meeting.) The 1997 conference included papers on a wide range of issues; but while it amply fulfilled the aim of contributing to philosophy of education generally, it also reinforced the impression that although people in the field were inclined to feel a need for the subject to address the life of the spirit, few made that a direct focus of their enquiries. For this reason alone it seemed appropriate and timely to draw people together for the specific purpose of reflecting upon spiritual formation and its possible relevance to existing educational aims and practices.

Beyond such educational concerns, however, the editors themselves shared the view that in becoming professional and increasingly institutionalised, philosophy has moved too far from an earlier conception of it as being the practice of the love of wisdom, towards a pseudo-scientific idea of itself as specialised research. This is, in part, a consequence of the culture of bureaucracy and oversight that seems the most salient feature of contemporary higher education in Britain, in Continental Europe and even in North America. This culture has led academics to regard the accumulation of a personal research portfolio as of first priority, and it has produced a market environment with an emphasis on novelty, innovation and branding. Those who in the not-so-distant past would have

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