Academic Questions

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 361–371 | Cite as

Liberal Education and Its Postmodern Critics

  • Stephen R. C. HicksEmail author

It is a truism to say that education is politicized. Yet my goal here is to show that politicized battles over education are mostly not about politics but about philosophy. Policy battles are heated not only because the practical stakes are high, but because they affirm or deny entire philosophies of life.

What is education’s mission? As teachers our goal is to develop within the child the knowledge, character, and skills necessary for successful living as an adult. That takes us directly into philosophy. If education is about knowledge, then what counts as knowledge, instead of merely having an opinion or a hypothesis? How is it acquired—by observation? reasoning? mysticism? faith? Or is knowledge impossible? Epistemology is essential to education.

If education is about character and preparation for successful living, then what is good character and what is successful living? Which traits are virtues and which are vices—pride or humility? Fairness or cheating? Moderation or gluttony?...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rockford UniversityRockfordUSA

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