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Graduate school lecture by Michael Hand: The problem of directive moral education


19 November 2018


Thursday 29 November, professor Michael Hand will give a lecture on the problem of directive moral education. Michael Hand is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham.


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 his recent book, A Theory of Moral Education, Michael Hand tries 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.


Michael Hand is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham. He is editor of the IMPACT pamphlet series and the Bloomsbury Philosophy of Education book series. Hand's research interests are in the areas of moral, political, religious and philosophical education. He has published books and articles on education for patriotism, the nature and aims of religious education, the justifiability of faith schools, autonomy as an educational aim, philosophy in schools, teaching about sexuality, and controversial issues in the classroom. His latest book is A Theory of Moral Education, published by Routledge in 2018.


Graduate School lecture, Thursday 29 November 2018
18.45 - 21.00 hrs,  University of Humanistic Studies, room 1.40

Thursday 29 November, professor Michael Hand will give a lecture on the problem of directive moral education. Michael Hand is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham.