Education, Contestation and Confusions of Sense and Concept

David Carr

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In the contemporary literature of educational philosophy and theory, it is almost routinely assumed or claimed that 'education' is a 'contested' concept: that is, it is held that education is invested - as it were, 'all the way down' - with socially constructed interests and values that are liable to diverge in different contexts to the point of mutual opposition. It is also often alleged that post-war analytical philosophers of education such as R. S. Peters failed to appreciate such contestability in seeking a single unified account of the concept of education. Following a brief re-visitation of Peters' analytical influences and approach and some consideration of recent 'post-analytical' criticisms of analytical educational philosophy on precisely this score, it is argued that much of the case for the so-called 'contestability' of education rests on a confusion of different concepts with different senses of 'education' that proper observance of well-tried methods of conceptual analysis easily enables us to avoid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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