Rather than appealing to universal truth or morality based on the power of reason, Nietzsche’s impassioned plea for resuscitating the embodied self as a source of ethics provides a new perspective on educational philosophy. Within the concept of Will to Power, he offers the notion of the Übermensch as a model for overcoming the social limitations of Christian morality and the dictates of fashion. In a formative state, ‘untimely men’ (and here, read ‘Nietzsche’) stand outside the homogenising influence of the State. Nietzsche’s Übermensch, involving a continuous process of ‘overcoming’ and ‘becoming’, is suggested as an alternative to the autonomous liberal subject as an educational ideal. It provides a perspective that contrasts with the egalitarian and collectivist notions that underpin social democracy and social justice as guiding ideals for educational endeavour. This paper questions the liberal hope that education is automatically the path to freedom and autonomy, arguing that education can be valued as a means of developing a reflective or critical view on our social predicament. Übermensch, perhaps the closest Nietzsche comes to an educational ideal, represents agonistic engagement with our social predicament and an overcoming of instrumental views about education. This paper investigates Nietzsche’s figure of the Übermensch and examines some functional aspects of that same figure that help to explain the notion of education relevant to this paper.
The teacher’s pedagogical ethics refers to the Kantian maxims that a teacher is obliged to follow. One could provide a list of the most crucial maxims that a teacher must absolutely not violate. We surely need these Kantian maxims in the teachers’ pedagogical ethics, although they tell us very little about the properties that good and moral teachers should possess. In teacher education we must of course elaborate on the ethical code of the teacher (maxims), but we must also consider the properties of a morally good teacher. A good source in endeavouring to find these properties is the book Aristotle wrote over 2,000 years ago, Nicomachean Ethics. According to Aristotle, a virtuous citizen must be educated. Without virtues (άρετή) – at least a certain degree of virtues – the polis community is impossible. Virtues are the human properties or action dispositions which facilitate the existence of telos, the purpose of a human being.” The telos of a man is to live a life worth living (eudaimon). Man achieves his telos by living a good life, which is a life lived according to certain virtues. In this article we consider what kind of a person a virtuous teacher is and what kind of a friend she is to her pupils.
This article examines conceptions of autonomy outlined by Dearden, Callan, Dewey and Kerr and distinguishes between five conceptions, namely, belief autonomy, action autonomy, interest autonomy, purpose autonomy and social autonomy. While Kerr criticizes conceptions of autonomy which are not explicitly moral, this article argues that the emphasis in some philosophical literature has simply emphasized self-regarding virtues more than other-regarding virtues. Purpose autonomy is considered a rich conception of autonomy because it not only builds upon children’s interests but provides the initiative and continuity to sustain interest even in challenging circumstances.
Is it possible for a person to acquire virtues of character solely by reading books and/or attending lectures on ethical theory? According to Aristotle, no ethical theory, no matter how well formed and powerful, can eliminate the need for a well conducted ethical habituation. One element that allows such an habituation to play a significant role in the acquisition of the virtues is the link between virtue and pleasure. In short, no ethical theory can, on its own, provide a moral education since it cannot generate the experience of pleasure found in one who lives the life of the virtues.
Two interconnected arguments are made: 1) that we eliminate standardized testing 2) that we oppose mainstream schooling. Schooling and education are two very different concepts, and do not necessarily coincide in practice. A case in point: our current schooling system is anti-educational. This paper makes the case for unschooling and learner-centred democratic alternatives.
Many student-teachers (and the students they teach) fail to understand the difference between opinions in the sense of preferences, and opinions in the sense of judgments. The phrase “That’s just your opinion!” (as wielded by contestants on the television series “American Idol”) is used to shield not only preferences but also judgments from public scrutiny. This misunderstanding springs from confusion between pluralism and relativism. Students’ fear of moral absolutism leads them to espouse relativism when they should be promoting pluralism. Within a conception of education as a social practice that mediates between the private and the public, students must learn both to justify their own judgments and to examine the judgments and justifications that others provide. This requires that students learn to distinguish “just my opinion” and “just your opinion” from morally significant judgments.