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Politic as a System of Education

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The awareness of connection between the political order and the model of education has been present in philosophy since its birth, also becoming one of the major topics of political philosophy. Even today this connection evokes great interest and anxiety among philosophers despite the fact that pedagogy has Jong been isolated from philosophy and granted the status of a separate discipline, and despite the development of modern democracy and political institutions connected with it. This is why I started my considerations quoting Kant who considers this association of education and politics from a new perspective, in the conditions when it became questionable. I refer to Kant here not only because every self-respecting philosopher should write a few words about Kant, but also, and first of all, because I highly respect accuracy and permanent validity of his statement quoted above and of all other ideas he discussed and developed in his lectures on pedagogy. I consider them particularly important, especially in the context of new conceptions arising within political philosophy, its new images and their implications in the sphere of education. And in this sense only I shall discuss here the new model of education. Since the most expressive modern image of political order has been presented by the representatives of liberalism, I shall use modern liberalism as a basis for reflection on the contemporary way of harmonising the norm and values of “the art of politics” and “the art of education”.

The debate connected with The Theory of Justice by John Rawls, which was first published in 1970, was the most important event within contemporary political philosophy. The language as well as the level of discourse proposed by Rawls has established a new canon of liberal thought, thus enliv ening theoretically liberalism itself and enforcing a new definition of trends remaining in Opposition to liberalism like, e.g., communitarism. Influenced by these debates, Rawls revised some of his ideas and developed them in his subsequent work, i.e., in Political Liberalism. And it is this work that constitutes the basis of my considerations. I wish to stress, however, that I am not going to criticise Rawls's conception or argue its point. Rawls's system is exceptionally consistent logically and has an extremely dense conceptual structure. Thus, if its criticism and polemics were to be honest, they would require a comprehensive approach, preferably in the form of a competitive system. My project is much more modest. My goal here is to express certain anxiety that I experienced while reading Rawls's work and whose source is accurately described by Kant's thought quoted as the motto. My anxiety resulted from an attempt at reconstructing the model of education that, in my opinion, is implicitly included in the project of political order offered by Rawls. Or rather, it resulted from my trying to discover its anthropological assumptions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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