Education, Learning and Freedom

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This paper takes as its starting point Kant’s analysis of freedom in the Critique of Pure Reason. From this analysis, two different types of freedom are discerned, formative and instrumental freedom. The paper suggests that much of what passes for the pedagogy of learning in UK universities takes the form of an instrumental freedom. This, however, involves the neglect of formative freedom – the power to put learning to question. An emancipatory concept of education requires that formative freedom lies at the heart of the educative endeavour, to which learning must be seen as secondary. The proposal of the two types of freedom is based on a relatively detailed consideration Kant’s Critique – this is necessary in order to ensure that the concepts of instrumental and formative freedom have a credible philosophical basis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-442
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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