Cultural Diversity, Liberal Pluralism and Schools: Isaiah by Neil Burtonwood

By Neil Burtonwood

With debates at the courting among cultural variety and the function of faculties raging on either side of the Atlantic, the time is apt for a philosophical paintings that shines new gentle at the matters concerned and that brings a clean point of view to a political and emotive dialogue.

Here Burtonwood brings the writing of British thinker Isaiah Berlin to endure with reference to multiculturalism in colleges, the 1st time that his paintings has been utilized to concerns of schooling.

Tackling the often-contradictory concerns surrounding liberal pluralism, this booklet poses critical questions for the schooling approach within the US and within the united kingdom.

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Extra resources for Cultural Diversity, Liberal Pluralism and Schools: Isaiah Berlin and Education

Example text

This kind of recognition takes on a particular significance when the group is an oppressed group. Berlin’s account of the psychology of oppressed groups and the possibility of individual members’ willingness to forego negative liberty in order to retain group self-government has already been discussed. Jeff Spinner-Halev (2001) appears to be thinking in these terms when he says that the justice of protecting individual rights must be balanced against the injustice of oppressing already disadvantaged groups: ‘I will argue that avoiding the injustice of imposing reform on oppressed groups is often more important than avoiding the injustice of discrimination against women’ (ibid: 86).

Yoder1 has been described as the ‘high water mark of judicial accommodationism’ for religious groups in the United States (Macedo, 2000: 153). The Amish of Wisconsin sought exemption from the last two years of compulsory education for their children. They felt that this period of schooling would expose their children to worldly influences and values that were inconsistent with their own teaching and that would interfere with the religious development of the children and therefore compromise the survival of the community.

Brighouse itemizes the content of this kind of education as follows: knowledge of the world and of the various sets of beliefs, religious and secular; a capacity to recognize fallacious argument and to understand the difference between arguments that rely on evidence and those that are founded on authority; and an awareness of the ways that believers and nonbelievers deal with moral problems, conversion experiences and their own doubts. This programme is likely, says Brighouse, to require children to come into contact with religious believers and the first-hand advocacy of religious beliefs.

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