Education is one, if not the most, vital and pressing problems of contemporary western societies. On the one hand, the educational system claims to fulfill certain tasks,namely to prepare future citizens for an optimal integration and full participation in society. On the other hand, this system lacks to provide the minimum conditions that would make each individual’s integration and participation possible. In this paper I address some of the cha(lle)nges of education via the concept of humanity. My goal is to identify the role the category of Humanity plays (or should play) in Education today.
My paper has three moments. First, I address the question of the meaning(s) of ‘humanity’. Can ‘humanity’ be equated with human nature, is it (part of) the human condition, or is it a myth and/or ideal? If ‘humanity’ is a fact, i.e., (part of) the human condition, what role does it play in designing the future education? If, on the contrary, ‘humanity’ it is a myth and/or ideal, is it worth retaining it? Having the Kantian notes on education as starting point I provide an account of the role played by the concept of humanity in the emergence and establishment of the contemporary social philosophy and the art of education. I show how this establishment relied upon the concept of humanity, which created the precedent for an optimistic construction of the human destiny, as exemplified in the Kantian Critical philosophy. Second, after exposing some of the reasons which support the necessity attributed by Kant to (the postulate of) ‘humanity’, I argue that this concept should be retained and that it can play a determining role in building the education of the future. Finally, I advance some of the principles according to which contemporary challenges in education can be addressed and therefore changed.
|Keywords:||Education, Humanity, Kant, Cosmopolitanism, Equality, Freedom, Morality, Politics, Private Sphere, Public Sphere, Participation|
Post Doctoral Fellow, Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras, Centro de Filosofia, Cascais, Cascais, Portugal
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