The Ethics of Lifelong Learning and its Implications for Values Education
In this chapter, I am recognising a body of normative scholarship under the label “lifelong learning theory”. Scholarship so labelled I consider to be either that which argues for lifelong learning or that which provides a critique of lifelong learning as a concept of worth. Included are such works addressing the notion of “lifelong education”, rather than that of “lifelong learning”, and also those that are recognised in the scholarly literature of lifelong learning theory as being works importantly foundational to the theory but which are less explicitly working under the label of lifelong learning or lifelong education – such as the Club of Rome report (Botkin et al. 1979) and the UNESCO report Learning to Be (Fauré et al. 1972). That body of theory I see as presupposing and implying a particular ethic, which I have characterised elsewhere (Bagnall 2004) as an aretaic ethic with a teleology of optimising universal human flourishing through learning. It is an ethic that suffuses the character of social entities or individuals who practice lifelong learning – at least to the extent that they are true to the theory in that practice. It does not, in other words, lend itself to being compartmentalised into those aspects of individual or social action that in some sense pertain particularly or majorly to lifelong learning activities and those aspects that do not – if such were possible.
KeywordsLifelong Learning Ethical Theory Ethical Action Ethical Commitment Ethical Expertise
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