Prohibition, accommodation or transformation? A philosophical investigation into the moral permissibility of faith schools in liberal democratic societies

Wareham, Ruth Oswald (2018). Prohibition, accommodation or transformation? A philosophical investigation into the moral permissibility of faith schools in liberal democratic societies. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This thesis concerns the ethics of faith schooling. More precisely, it asks whether faith schools constitute legitimate (that is, morally permissible) institutions for liberal democratic societies. I begin by examining five senses in which the term ‘faith school’ might be used and the possible objections that each of these might motivate. Since, as traditionally conceived, faith schools teach for religious belief, I pay particular attention to the criticism that such institutions are indoctrinatory. Via an examination of recent work in the philosophy of psychiatry, I illuminate the concept of indoctrination and propose two reasons why it is morally unacceptable: first, it results in a mind-set where, like delusion, beliefs are held separate from reason and, second, it involves a violation of autonomy.

Drawing on a conception of autonomy proposed by Ben Colburn (2010), I go on to argue that, because the development of autonomy is a fundamental aim of the educational enterprise, this gives us strong grounds to avoid both indoctrination and other autonomy violating practices (particularly “Comprehensive Enrolment” (Clayton, 2006). However, while traditional accounts of the legitimacy of faith schooling have correctly identified that confessional faith schools are indoctrinatory, much less has been said about religiously distinctive pedagogies which fall short of indoctrination. For this reason, the final part of the thesis addresses these ‘priming pedagogies’ and suggests ways in which they may be adapted to provide a morally permissible form of liberal faith-based schooling.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Law, IainUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hand, MichaelUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV1460 Religious Education
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7946

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