By Robin Barrow, Patricia White
Philosophers and educationalists of overseas reputation have fun the pro profession of Paul Hirst, overlaying issues starting from the character of fine educating to Wittgensteinian aesthetics.
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Additional resources for Beyond Liberal Education: Essays in Honour of Paul H. Hirst
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 questions the importance of adherence to ‘publicly accepted criteria’ can intelligibly express himself by questioning the value of truth and knowledge when these have been characterised in terms of such criteria.
Hirst, anyway, does not intend his remark on unanalysability to exclude further discussion of how truth should be understood. This is just as well, for Hirst needs to engage in further discussion and cannot remain content with the man in the street’s sanguine indifference as to the nature of truth. ). There are accounts of truth which cannot accommodate such ascriptions: for example, the ‘redundancy’ theory according to which the meaning of ‘“P” is true’ is that of an assertion of plain ‘P’. A painting, not being a sentence, cannot be an instance of ‘P’ here.
Consider, first, the great length of the philosopher’s education, and its restriction to a small ‘elite’. If the aim of this education were ‘mental health’ or ‘greater concern for general welfare’, these features would be odd: for surely such aims could be set for most people, and before the ripe old age of thirty-five. But the proposals fall into place when we recall that education is progress in transcending one’s ‘merely human’ nature and towards a vision utterly unfamiliar to the common mind.