MacIntyre, rationality, and education: against education of our ageSteven Stolz (La Trobe University)
278 Victoria Parade
East Melbourne 3002
This presentation is based on a book entitled Alasdair MacIntyre, Rationality, and Education: Against Education of Our Age that has been published by Springer. Despite MacIntyre being known as an academic who has made many notable contributions to a range of areas in philosophy, his thinking on education is not as well-known and/or properly understood by most audiences and readerships that predominantly reside in educational contexts. With this in mind, this presentation aims to provide a critique of MacIntyre’s thinking about education, and hence commences with a central theme found in MacIntyre’s extensive corpus concerning the fragmentation and disunification of ideas found in our culture and society that stems both from the rejection of metaphysics and what it means to be a human being living within the context of history. According to MacIntyre, part of the problem why this has occurred is due to educational institutions, particularly universities failing to resist the pressure exerted from industry and the state to conform. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a type of intellectual dissensus where the shared conceptions of rational enquiry and the role of reason have been replaced by pluralistic notions of private and personal choices concerning the good, and a disillusionment with reason that is ultimately exhibited as apathy and conformism. In order to overcome this apathy and conformism found in our culture and society, MacIntyre’s educational project is concerned with the cultivation of rationality; however, this is not an easy undertaking because it involves students being confronted with alternative – sometimes rather hostile – rival traditions so they both come to see rival points of view and understand that each tradition, including their own, does not come from a neutral or value-neutral standpoint. To MacIntyre, dialectical encounters between traditions is a crucial starting point of a good education, but for intellectual and academic progress to be made, rational enquiry needs to be grounded in a shared understanding of first principles that aims at truth and rational vindication. It is this shift in thinking that is of interest in the latter part of this presentation, particularly MacIntyre’s views around tradition-orientated communities of practice. Here, MacIntyre is concerned with the praxis of his educational project and the crucial role tradition-orientated communities play in the cultivation of independent reasoners who are capable of seeing the interconnectedness between different forms of knowledge that can lead us to an informed discovery of both the truth, and of the good, but most importantly exhibit virtuous dispositions which are vital to good practical reasoning.
Public Transport: Trams: 109 (to Box Hill), 12 (to Victoria Gardens): Tram, stop 13 (Landsdowne St. ACU).
Buses: From City: 302, 303, 304, 305, 309, 318, 350, 905, 906, 907, 908. Stop: ACU.
Nearest Train Station: Parliament Station. Exit Macarthur St, go north until Victoria Parade, Turn right, 400 metres (CTC building corner of Victoria Parade and Eades St, - the Southern Side of Vic Parade, located across from what was until very recently - the Dallas Brooks Hall).
Parking along Vic Parade and at the ACU (on Young St).
The Treacy boardroom is on the ground floor, very close to the reception desk of the Thomas Carr Centre, which is the campus building at 278 Victoria Pde. There is a wheelchair-friendly toilet/bathroom on the same ground floor a short distance from the boardroom.
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