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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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Evaluating education for compliance: a cost-benefit analysis

Evaluating education for compliance: a cost-benefit analysis

(p.79) Chapter 3 Evaluating education for compliance: a cost-benefit analysis
Civics Beyond Critics

Ian MacMullen

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues against the highly restrictive view of permissible education for law-abidingness to which most theorists and philosophers of education are committed. This orthodox view would not come close to producing the very high rate of compliance with laws that is morally required in a reasonably just liberal democracy. The chapter goes on to systematically identify the various costs associated with educational strategies that sacrifice autonomy for the sake of compliance. The principal challenge is to identify the ways in which acts of compliance can be suboptimal despite being morally permissible: the analysis here focuses on acts that either fail to express the agent’s own judgment or express a judgment that reflects inauthentic preferences or false beliefs. The chapter concludes that, when children are educated for compliance in ways that deviate moderately and judiciously from autonomy-maximizing education, the benefits of such education will typically outweigh the costs

Keywords:   autonomy, inauthentic preferences, compliance, law-abidingness, false beliefs

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