Does an argument for a detached school contain an incoherence?



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Tartu Ülikool


In this thesis, I argue that Levinson’s argument for a detached school is inconsistent in the sense that the solution to the problem of cultural coherence of a child’s identity violates the function of a detached school. However, I argue, this incoherence could be resolved by introducing a particular requirement to the content of civic education. With this aim, I explain Levinson’s arguments that children in a liberal state should be educated for autonomy. I show why, according to Levinson, valuation of autonomy by a liberal state makes the three commitments of liberalism – to good life pluralism, to a legitimation process, and to substantive liberal institutions – consistent with one another. Since a liberal state must be committed to the valuation of autonomy, a system of formal schooling must be such that generates children with an ability for autonomy. I explain what is the conception of autonomy that, according to Levinson, should be promoted within a liberal state. Since one of the requirements of the minimal substantive conception of autonomy poses a problem for an ideal liberal school, I explain Levinson’s solution to it and point out the incoherence of such a solution. Finally, I defend Levinson’s argument for a detached school by showing how the incoherence in question could be resolved. I present further objections to the proposed solution and reply to them.



autonomy, practical philosophy, detached school