The Rehabilitation of Virtue: Foundations of Moral Education

By Robert T. Sandin | Go to book overview

12
SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT ILLUSION

Western philosophy starts from the distinction between appearance and reality, and from the corresponding distinction between opinion and knowledge. Philosophical inquiry arises from the discovery that things are not always what they appear to be, that sometimes we are taken in by appearances, that our beliefs and opinions, even though sincerely and firmly held, at times turn out to be unsupportable. The mark of an educated person is the capacity to distinguish between reality and appearance, between knowledge and opinion, between true perception and illusion. An educated person has learned how to avoid being misled by the appearances of things and has learned to apprehend the reality of things. Only that person may claim to be educated who has escaped the illusion of accepting appearances at face value and has acquired knowledge of the reality that lies behind the appearances.

In America the image has recently become more important than the reality. Images are no longer the shadow of experience; they have become the substance. The Americans, writes Daniel Boorstin, are running the risk of "being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so 'realistic' that they can live with them." 1 So powerful are the illusions we manufacture that we are willing to be controlled by them even when we do not believe in them.

The making of illusions is the great business of America. The American dream, says Boorstin, has been transformed into a series of American illusions, which have lately become our chief export to a communications-driven world. 2 The recent growth of advertising,

-210-

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The Rehabilitation of Virtue: Foundations of Moral Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • I - Values in Retreat 17
  • Summary 30
  • 2 - The Teaching of Values 31
  • 3 - Values Without Philosophy 43
  • 4 - The Anti-Intellectualism of the Schools 55
  • Summary 70
  • 5 - Values in Development 72
  • Summary 87
  • 6 - The Realm of Value 89
  • 7 - Utility and Value 110
  • Summary 124
  • 8 - Thinking and Valuing 126
  • 9 - Reasons for Being Moral 143
  • Summary 156
  • 10 - Education and Virtue 158
  • Summary 182
  • 11 - The Structure of Virtue 184
  • Summary 207
  • 12 - Spirituality Without Illusion 210
  • 13 - Toward a Spiritual Education 231
  • Summary 245
  • Notes 247
  • Selected Bibliography for Values Education 267
  • Index 279
  • About the Author 283
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