This course explores central questions in the philosophy of education: What is education, and what is it for? What is the meaning and value of education to individuals and society? What should the aims and content of education be? Are there things that everyone should know or be able to do? Should education promote moral virtue? What are alternative methods of education? How should educational opportunities and resources be distributed? What roles should the individual, family, community, and state have in education? What should the role of education be in democratic societies? We will examine alternative perspectives on these and related issues of educational theory and practice. Readings will include selections from a variety of influential historical thinkers, such as Plato, Rousseau, and Dewey, as well as more recent educational theorists and critics.
We will explore major texts in moral philosophy in the Western tradition from the fifth century B.C.E. through the nineteenth century. Topics discussed will include: moral reasoning, knowledge, and justification; conceptions of virtue, moral motivation, and the role of the emotions in morality; and issues of justice, rights, and equality. We will also examine several contemporary moral controversies from alternative philosophical perspectives (including the moral status of non-human animals, abortion, and euthanasia, among others). Students will evaluate the assumptions, arguments, and proposals of various moral thinkers, and will develop and support their own views regarding matters of moral theory and practice.
Senior Associate Faculty and Associate Dean of Advising
Mail Code AC
Lemelson Center for Design 109
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002