Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 5–21

Changing the Definition of Education. On Kant’s Educational Paradox Between Freedom and Restraint

Authors

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11217-013-9357-4

Cite this article as:
Schaffar, B. Stud Philos Educ (2014) 33: 5. doi:10.1007/s11217-013-9357-4

Abstract

Ever since Kant asked: “How am I to develop the sense of freedom in spite of the restraint?” in his lecture on education, the tension between necessary educational influence and unacceptable restriction of the child’s individual development and freedom has been considered an educational paradox. Many have suggested solutions to the paradox; however, this article endorses recent discussions in educational philosophy that pursue the need to fundamentally rethink our understanding of education and upbringing. In this article it is argued that it is incomprehensible to describe an intervention of an educator as a constraint on a child’s actions and that such an intervention would be in need of justification; as Kant and many others after him have done. Educational intervention should not be understood as a restriction of a child’s endeavour to learn, because any educational intervention is educational. Furthermore, it is argued that the notion of restraint is based on the concept of human beings as radically separated which lead to the assumption that education is restrictive per se. In contrast, this article argues that indoctrination, manipulation, and coercion are rather phenomena within our educational forms of life. Recognizing the interrelations between human beings should play a constitutive part in the conceptualisation of individual freedom. A bond with others is the foundation upon which a child develops its own identity and an understanding of itself as an agent who can express its own will and takes responsibility for its words and actions.

Keywords

Immanuel KantFreedomEducational restraintHuman interrelatednessForms of life

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013