Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Article excerpt

What do phrases like "moral education" mean within the context of both secular and religious universities, and whose morality ought to guide or influence the education of today's students? Which duties to self and society are to be cultivated, and how? Does the academy have a legitimate role to play here? These sorts of questions have been explored along many different lines of thought-lines tending more toward intersection than convergence. In this issue, we adopt the phrase "educating for personal and social responsibility" as a useful, if still imperfect, way to mark their intersection within the context of a liberal education.

A liberally educated person is committed to intellectual honesty, accepts responsibility for the moral health of society and for social justice, and participates actively in the civic life of our democracy. Bringing about that result is a vital but nonetheless difficult and uncertain task. There's the problem of language, for one thing. "Morality," "spirituality," "character," and the like are heavily freighted terms, and many in the academy are uncomfortable with them for a variety of reasons. And even if colleges actually can significantly influence ethical or moral or civic development-and, in her review of the literature in this issue, Lynn Swaner suggests they can-it must be borne in mind that college is not a totalizing experience. …

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