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E. Education; Philosophy of Deliberative Democracy > Cooper on "Teaching and Truthfulness"

This paper by David E. Cooper appeared in Studies in Philosophy and Education 27 (2008): 79–87.

"Some tendencies in modern education—the stress on ‘performativity’, for instance, and ‘celebration of difference’—threaten the value traditionally placed on truthful teaching. In this paper, truthfulness is mainly understood, following Bernard Williams, as a disposition to ‘Accuracy’ and ‘Sincerity’—hence as a virtue. It is to be distinguished from truth (a property of beliefs), and current debates about the nature of truth are not relevant to the issue of the value of truthfulness. This issue devolves into the question of whether truthfulness is a distinctive virtue of teachers, which they have a special obligation to exercise in the face of competing aims. This paper defends the idea of distinctive professional duties and considers two conceptions of teaching which ascribe a central place to truthfulness. The first conceives of teaching as a personal relationship within which trust, and hence, it is claimed, truthfulness, are paramount. This claim is challenged, and the paper concludes by sympathetically considering a second conception of teaching, articulated by Oakeshott and Heidegger. In this conception, teaching is a ‘releasement’ from ‘the daily flux’ of pupils’ lives through a truthful initiation into the alternatives to this ‘daily flux’ found within ‘the civilized inheritance of mankind’"
January 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterIan James Kidd