Book launch: A theory of moral education
- Room G39, School of Education (Building R19)
- Social Sciences
This seminar and drinks reception is being held to mark the launch of A Theory of Moral Education by Michael Hand.
- Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK
- Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, University of Sheffield
- Andrew Peterson, Professor of Civic and Moral Education, Canterbury Christ Church University
Children must be taught morality. They must be taught to recognise the authority of moral standards and to understand what makes them authoritative. But there’s a problem: the content and justification of morality are matters of reasonable disagreement among reasonable people. This makes it hard to see how educators can secure children’s commitment to moral standards without indoctrinating them.
In A Theory of Moral Education, Michael Hand tackles this problem head on. He sets out to show that moral education can and should be fully rational. It is true that many moral standards and justificatory theories are controversial, and educators have an obligation to teach these nondirectively, with the aim of enabling children to form their own considered views. But reasonable moral disagreement does not go all the way down: some basic moral standards are robustly justified, and these should be taught directively, with the aim of bringing children to recognise and understand their authority.
This is an original and important contribution to the philosophy of moral education, which lays a new theoretical foundation for the urgent practical task of teaching right from wrong.
Hand has written a book on the deeply difficult problem of moral education that is a marvel of clarity and cogency. No recent book on the topic can compare with this one.
Eamonn Callan, Pigott Family Professor of Education, Stanford University, USA