Special Volume of SPP on Education Released

March 3, 2015

A new issue of Social Philosophy and Policy, accompanied by a book version of the essays with an added introduction, entitled Education: Ideals and Practices, edited by David Schmidtz and published by Cambridge University Press, has been released. 

From the back cover:

Plato’s Republic supposed we could learn about justice in an individual soul by looking at justice in the city — he called the latter “justice writ large.” Philosophers ever since have been intrigued but skeptical, suspecting that in some ways, justice of the soul (a question of how to do justice to the parts of one’s soul) is not like justice of the polis (a question of how members of a community do justice to each other). Perhaps justice in our schools (a question of how to do justice to our students) is not like justice inthe larger polis either.

What philosophers say about justice has been concerned mostly with justice writ large, and hardly any of the philosophical commentary has been specifically about justice in our schools. Thus, when it comes to educational justice, we should consider the possibility, indeed the likelihood, that much of our extant theorizing about justice is, as applied to educational justice, merely an analogy, probably illuminating, but potentially misleading too. Often, such theorizing consists of imagining how perfect the world could be, where such musing has no implications whatsoever regarding what would be fair, or more generally how educational reformers ought to proceed and what they should be aiming for starting from here and now.

The essays in this volume in one way or another try to locate, within a larger conception of the terrain of justice, a place for justice as it pertains specifically to education. Several essays reflect on our educational mission. Properly so, for if we misread the mission, we also misread what we (we who volunteered for that mission) need to do to be giving people (parents, students, teachers, stakeholders in general) their due.


Mark Pennington, Randall Curren, Jennifer M. Morton, Ishtiyaque Haji, Gina Schouten, Harry Brighouse, Thomas Schramme, Jaime Ahlberg, Michael Cholbi, James Tooley, Paul Weithman, Kyla Ebels-Duggan, Jon Mahoney.