CHAPTER ONE
STATES AND EDUCATION

“We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education.” So broadly understood as what we learn “from nature, from men, and from things,”1 the gift of education may make us who we are, but is not ours to give. Like Rousseau, we therefore direct our concern to that portion of education most amenable to our influence: the conscious efforts of men and women to inform the intellect and to shape the character of less educated people. And we naturally begin by asking what the purposes of human education should be—what kind of people should human education seek to create?

Perhaps the most commonly articulated answer is relativistic. “The citizens of a state should always be educated to suit the constitution of their state,” Aristotle argued.2 “The laws of education must be relative to the principles of government,”3 Montesquieu agreed, as did Durkheim and several more contemporary social theorists.

Many moralists react unfavorably to the mere mention of relativism because they associate it with the view, properly called “subjectivism,” that claims morality to be nothing more than personal opinion. Aristotle, Montesquieu, and Durkheim reject subjectivism for the far more defensible view that the deepest, shared moral commitments of a society—its “constitution” in Aristotelian terms or “political principles” in Montesquieu's more modern sense—serve as the standard for determining the justice of its educational practices. Conservatism is the moral hazard of this form of relativism. Does justice demand that citizens be educated to suit the constitution of their society if that constitution supports cruelty and injustice? The strongest formulation of educational relativism suggests not, or at least not necessarily. Education must be guided by the principles, not the practices, of a regime. Edu-

____________________
1
Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, trans. Barbara Foxley (New York: Everyman, 1972), p. 6.
2
The Politics of Aristotle, ed. and trans. by Ernest Barker (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), p. 332 (1337a).
3
Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Thomas Nugent (London, 1750), 1: 42. Cf. The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert H. Smyth (New York and London, 1905–1907), 10: 97–105; and Emile Durkheim, Moral Education (New York: Free Press, 1961), passim.

-19-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Democratic Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 348

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.