Beyond Liberal Education: Essays in Honour of Paul H. Hirst by Robin Barrow, Patricia White

By Robin Barrow, Patricia White

Philosophers and educationalists of overseas reputation rejoice the pro profession of Paul Hirst, protecting subject matters starting from the character of excellent educating to Wittgensteinian aesthetics.

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Extra resources for Beyond Liberal Education: Essays in Honour of Paul H. Hirst

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The value of ‘aiming at truth’, it seems, cannot be cogently questioned, since one would be aiming at it in any serious resolution of the question. Since the difficulties with this style of argument are well-known, I shall be brief. At least in our kind of culture, ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge’ have a powerful, positive force. This makes it sound strange when someone challenges the value of truth and knowledge tout court. But it need not be strange to make this challenge when they are understood in a particular way.

Someone who equates the class of true and false sentences with that of verifiable and falsifiable ones might deny that religious beliefs, say, can be true (or false). Some conceptions of truth make it sensible to regard paintings as true or false; others do not. There are several general considerations which prima facie support our motto, of which I mention two. First, nearly everyone agrees that education has to do with knowledge. Some would say that education is, in large part, initiation into knowledge.

That would be the answer of correspondence theorists: one which, by allowing for the logical possibility that assertions never truly fit reality, would make truth useless as a determinant of meaning. The alternative answer must, it seems, be this. I am warranted in asserting ‘P’ under such-and-such ascertainable conditions in virtue of an agreement among speakers of my language on the application of terms—an agreement which entails that, under these conditions, ‘P’ constitutes a proper application.

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