Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 1-9

First online:

Democracy & democratic education

  • Amy Gutmann

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A profound problem posed by education for any pluralistic society with democratic aspirations is how to reconcile individual freedom and civic virtue. Children cannot be educated to maximize both individual freedom and civic virtue. Yet reasonable people value and intermittently demand both. We value freedom of speech and press, for example, but want (other) people to refrain from false and socially harmful expression. The various tensions between individual freedom and civic virtue pose a challenge that is simultaneously philosophical and political. How can we resolve the tensions philosophically in light of reasonable political disagreements over the relative value of individual freedom and civic virtue? Instead of giving priority to one value or the other, this essay defends a democratic ideal ofconscious social reproduction, which consists of three principles:nonrepression, nondiscrimination, and democratic deliberation.

Key words

civic virtue deliberation democracy discrimination freedom repression