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Civics Beyond CriticsCharacter Education in a Liberal Democracy$
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Ian MacMullen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733614.001.0001

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Introduction: theorizing education for civic character

Introduction: theorizing education for civic character

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: theorizing education for civic character
Civics Beyond Critics

Ian MacMullen

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter identifies and analyzes the orthodox scholarly view of civic character education in a liberal democracy, where character education is understood as education that shapes its recipients’ values, beliefs, preferences, habits, identities, and sentiments. A portion of the orthodox view is defended, namely, its insistence on the necessity and legitimacy of some significant civic character education that is provided in part by the state. The chapter then documents and explores the orthodox view’s uncompromising commitment to cultivating and preserving critical autonomy as a civic virtue. The remaining chapters of the book will be dedicated to critiquing that commitment. The last sections of this introductory chapter specify the scope and limits of the project, explain the book’s overall structure and strategy, and sketch the major arguments of each subsequent chapter.

Keywords:   civic education, character education, civic virtue, autonomy, critical thinking, citizenship, liberal democracy

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