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Civics Beyond CriticsCharacter Education in a Liberal Democracy$
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Ian MacMullen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733614.001.0001

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Conclusion: citizenship and the limits of autonomy

Conclusion: citizenship and the limits of autonomy

Chapter:
(p.252) Chapter 8 Conclusion: citizenship and the limits of autonomy
Source:
Civics Beyond Critics
Author(s):

Ian MacMullen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733614.003.0008

This concluding chapter summarizes the book’s critique of a view of civic education that has become orthodox among contemporary political and educational theorists. On that view, education for civic character, although essential for the reproduction of a healthy liberal democratic polity, should not extend beyond inculcating in children the basic and universal moral values that constitute the ideal of liberal democracy itself. This orthodox view, with its associated ideal of critically autonomous citizenship, makes unrealistic demands of the human capacities for autonomous reasoning and moral motivation. We need to steer a judicious path between excesses and deficiencies of critically autonomous citizenship. The chapter ends by tentatively sketching some likely practical implications of the main theoretical conclusions of the book.

Keywords:   civic education, character education, civic virtue, autonomy, critical thinking, moral motivation, citizenship, liberalism, liberal democracy

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