Reimagining liberal education: affiliation and inquiry in democratic schooling

Drawing on my new book Reimagining Liberal Education, I argue in this talk for a form of education in open, diverse, liberal democracies that eschews neutrality. Instead, educators need to enable students to embark on a quest for intelligent spirituality grounded in thick traditions with roots in strong transcendent values, while paying heed to pedagogies of difference that engage a variety of alternative perspectives in dialogue. To understand one’s self requires engaging those whose views are different from one’s own. But to genuinely encounter difference one must also acquire a deep understanding of the traditions to which one is heir or with which one chooses to affiliate. This philosophical position offers an account of school curriculum and moral and religious instruction that throws new light on the possibilities of a nuanced, rounded education for citizenship devoted to a modus vivendi for living together across deep difference in peace.