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Compulsion Without Coercion: Liberal Education Through Uncommon Schooling

  • Naoko Saito
Chapter

Abstract

A crucial task of compulsory education is to initiate students into the body of common knowledge and a common language. To measure the degree of success in this task, educators and policy makers need common standards. The dilemma they confront concerns the extent to which the compulsory nature of education should permit the space of freedom. Compulsory education entails a tension with freedom: and vice versa, freedom within the scheme of compulsoriness is narrowly defined in terms of the degree of deviation from the common. Freedom is typically associated with the liberal concept of the autonomous self. This chapter aims to re-place the human subject by destabilizing any dichotomous relationship between compulsion and freedom, and by presenting an alternative vision of liberal education—an education in service of the harmonious perfection of the human subject. This involves reengagement with common language, common knowledge, common standards and common humanity. To this end, I first introduce Paul Standish's attempt to go "beyond the self." Exploiting the point of connection between European and American philosophy that Standish has revealed, I further develop Emerson's and Thoreau's American perfectionism as a hopeful, radical re-placement of the subject of philosophy and, by implication, of the re-envisioning of liberal education. Such anti-foundationalist perfectionism leads to an alternative concept of the subject in translation. This guides us to another path towards "compulsory" education through the entangled relationship between freedom and cultural initiation, and to an alternative vision of liberal education through uncommon schooling: I argue for this as a way towards compulsion without coercion.

Keywords

Mother Tongue Compulsory Education Liberal Education Cultural Initiation Common Standard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KyotoKyotoJapan

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