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Ethics and Educational Purposes

Ethics and Educational Purposes

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Published by returncc
The author examines Taylor's views on Liberalism and develops two concepts for educational purposes based on respect and communication.
The author examines Taylor's views on Liberalism and develops two concepts for educational purposes based on respect and communication.

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Published by: returncc on Mar 08, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Democratic Values, Student Engagement and Democratic Leadership
Ethics and Educational Purposes
2002
Introduction
Democratic transformational pedagogies focused on issues of social justice, exemplified in the works of Paulo Freire, have recentlyarticulated the need for a coherent ethical position in relation toteaching and the administration of schools. This ethical position standsin opposition to claims of academic impartiality in the construction of social knowledge related to the economic conditions of ourcommunities.In the context of educational policymaking, David Corson of OISEin Toronto argues for the need to achieve a system wide consensus inpolicymaking to establish universal norms that operate as principles atthe system level to increase the scope and capacity for meeting social justice needs and goals. (Corson 1995).
1
Toward the construction of acommon ethic, Corson considered the clarification of principles toinvolve, finding a realistic set of shared values that overarch all thevarious social and cultural groups that the political system contains.(Smolicz, 1984).
2
Frameworks for a Standard
Conservative, liberal, and democratic educational purposesrepresent particular worldviews that differ mostly in theirunderstanding of the “self” and the nature of our connection to others.Each perspective advocates for a different set of dominant institutional
1
p.134. David Corson.
 Power and the Discourses of Policy and Curriculum : An Introduction
in Discourseand Power in Educational Organizations, Ed. Corson (OISE Press, Toronto) 1995.
2
P.134. ibid Corson on Smolicz, J. (1984). Multiculturalism and an overarching framework of values.
 European Journal of Education
, 19, 11-24.
1
 
purposes, whether those purpose direct activity toward the promotionof market skills, autonomous individuals, or citizens capable of democratic transformation.In western society, educational purposes have traditionally beenarticulated within a liberal democratic framework that claims to beguided by respect for liberty and equality. This paper attempts toconstruct a set of core ethical concepts capable of guiding individualand institutional action within our
de facto
legal and political system inthe form of clearly articulated policy purposes derived from principlesof 
respect 
. This paper is intended to be a first person hermeneuticalclarification of liberal ethical concepts arguing for the construction andapplication of a simple ethical proposition in the decision makingprocesses of individuals and institutions. In other words, this paperproposes rooting a broad consensus for educational purposes in achoice between
respect
and
violence
.In the style of a moral entrepreneur, this paper challenges thereader to consider hastening the “end of violence” by implementingethical reasoning and standards in our daily relations and within publicinstitutions that intervene and act in our community. In moral theorythe standard is expressed as a distinction between decisions thataccount or discount the preferences and/or interests of others. Inbehavioural terms, it is the difference characterized by an attitude of humility or superiority. This principle is in effect a command to respectothers on the basis of the belief that all people are of equal worth.
The Conflict of Liberalism
2
 
In Charles Taylor’s famous essay entitled
The Politics of Recognition,
Taylor presents a conflict between competing conceptionsof liberalism represented by a difference between a “politics of dignity”and a “politics of difference.” Taylor claims that both types of liberalismare based on the notion of 
equal respect
, expressed together withother competing values and interests that evidently createcontradiction. In the end, he claims that a “politics of dignity” remainsuneasy about elevating ethnic or cultural identities over the uniformapplication of universal rights, while a “politics of difference” protestthe application of uniform standards which result in unequalconsequences for different groups.Habermas claims that harmony between this apparentcontradiction is possible through an understanding of the internalconnection between the individual rights of private persons and thepublic autonomy of citizens who participate in making the laws.(Habermas 1994).
3
This paper attempts resolve the issue byimplementing ethical educational purposes within an independentdemocratic framework borrowing from the intellectual heritage of western liberalism, so influential in the application of positive lawprinciples and our understanding of institutional purposes.
Rights and Needs
By way of introduction to Taylor’s essay, Amy Gutman arguesthat the ideal of human dignity points in at least two directions, theprotection of basic rights and the acknowledgment of particular needs.According to Taylor, both positions are rooted in a “politics of equalrecognition” that promote in different ways the ideal of equal respect,
3
p.114. Habermas, J.
Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State
, in Multiculturalism(1994).
3

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