Plural moral philosophical perspective on citizenship education
Silvane, Charles Busani
The thesis explores the plausibility of grounding citizenship education in a plural moral philosophical perspective without the danger of relativism. This is meant to enrich and allow citizenship education to reach its full potential of developing responsible and participatory citizens. Most societies require education to develop responsible citizens who have a questioning attitude as well as willing to contribute to the general welfare of society and the environment. However, citizenship education often fails to reach its full potential because it is theorised on a single moral philosophical perspective such as deontic rights. To date there has been little intellectual engagement in the research literature on citizenship education with the question of whether it might be possible, let alone valuable to have a citizenship education underpinned by a plural moral philosophical perspective. Drawing from literature in moral philosophy and education, the study follows a philosophical approach to analyse a conceptual framework which includes deontological ethics, virtue ethics, care ethics, utilitarian ethics and the capabilities approach. It is argued that teachers may draw from a plural moral philosophical perspective on citizenship education so that we do not only develop citizens with rights, who participate in making and obeying laws, but citizens who are motivated to participate for the right reasons, at the right time and for the right motive, and, at the same time are sympathetic to the plight of others and willing to facilitate the capabilities of others. In particular, virtue ethics and care ethics are essential for personal (moral) and social dimension of citizenship education while deontological ethics and the capabilities approach contribute towards the political dimension. It is also proposed that teacher education should include moral philosophy as well as the reading of literature in order to promote a broad conception of education which enables teachers to draw from a plural moral philosophical perspective in teaching citizenship education as a theme across the curriculum.