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Instructor: Michael Vazquez. This course meets MWF 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in CW 105.

This course is about the social, philosophical, and normative foundations of education, especially education in a liberal democracy. Some of the questions we will address include:

  1. What are the aims of schooling and education (e.g. autonomy, liberation, virtue, jobs training, citizenship, social efficiency)?
  2. What constitutes equal treatment of students and a fair distribution of educational goods?
  3. Who should have the authority to influence the way our education system works?
  4. What do educators owe their students, and what does this mean for curricular content and pedagogical methods?

Throughout the course we will reflect on the ways in which these foundational and philosophical questions show up in the many disagreements about education and school policy that persist today (e.g. charter schools, patriotic education, anti-racist curricula, college admissions).

We’ll explore these and other issues by reading philosophical texts (historical and contemporary), along with case studies that highlight the ethical, moral, and political dimensions of education.

No previous exposure to philosophy or philosophical methodology is required for enrollment in this course.