Methods in Philosophy of Education

By Frieda Heyting; Dieter Lenzen et al. | Go to book overview

now largely abated. As we said, the heyday of children's rights occurred in the children's liberation movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Muddled thinking in this area, e.g., to do with overlooking relevant differences between children and adults, engaged analytic philosophers of education in the traditional negative task of their brand of philosophy, of exposing conceptual confusions. Once these problems were cleared up to most people's satisfaction, they disappeared from the agenda. But this is not to say that the topic of children's rights is moribund. As we have seen, the claim that children have a right to education has led to discussions, which show no signs of ceasing, about what that education should consist in and who should have the right to determine its content. In other words, the weight now falls on these traditional mainstream preoccupations of philosophy of education rather than on children' rights seen as a topic on its own. These discussions bring out very well points we made earlier about the role of connected analysis in our tradition. We have made it clear how the concept of rights in general is connected with such concepts as law, morality, obligation, welfare, liberty, liberalism. Investigating children's right to education in particular leads one into a closer investigation into this same range of concepts, but now in the context of a discussion of educational aims, as well as into other aims-related concepts. Thus much contemporary writing revolves around the notions of the promotion of autonomy, its connection with welfare or well-being, its connections with moral education, the nature of morality and the place of rules and virtues within it, the notions of liberal democracy, citizenship, the state, cultural pluralism, communitarianism and nationality. Among other notions, which also find their place in this web of interconnections, are educational aims to do with the cultivation of knowledge, skills, abilities, aesthetic responsiveness and preparation for work. Understanding how these and other ideas can be related together in different ways forms a large part of the substance of contemporary philosophy of education in the British analytical tradition. One of the routes into this complex - and untidy - network is via reflection on the child's right to education.


Bibliography
Archard, D. (1993) Children: Rights and Childhood, London: Routledge.
Callan, E. (1985) 'McLaughlin on parental rights', Journal of Philosophy of Education, 19 (1): 111-118.
--(1997) Creating Citizens, Oxford:Oxford University Press.
Cranston, M. (1967) 'Human Rights, Real and Supposed', in D. D. Raphael (ed.) Political Theory and the Rights of Man, London: Macmillan.
Crittenden, B. (1988) Parents, the State and the Right to Education, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Dearden, R. F. (1968) The Philosophy of Primary Education, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
DfEE (Department for Education and Employment) (1997) Excellence in Schools, London: HMSO.

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