Education and democracy


DPS meeting
The education crisis and the depletion of democracy
Wednesday 13 April from 5-6.30pm in ib3.307 on Deakin's Waurn Ponds campus

This Wednesday the Deakin Philosophical Society will meet to discuss a 2011 essay by philosopher Martha Nussbaum on the tension between the type of education system required for a flourishing democracy and that required for a flourishing economy. The article, ‘The education crisis and the depletion of democracy’, is available on the ABC Religion and Ethics website ( Some of the article text fails to print from web browsers, so I have posted a PDF copy of the article for those of you who prefer to read a print copy.

Nussbaum's article ties in with our discussion last week of happiness while leading us into next week's topic, critical thinking and rhetoric. Here's a sample of Nussbaum's argument:

The humanities and the arts are being cut away, in both primary/secondary and college/university education, in virtually every nation of the world. Seen by policy-makers as useless frills, at a time when nations must cut away all useless things in order to stay competitive in the global market, they are rapidly losing their place in curricula, not to mention in the minds and hearts of parents and children.

But, as she goes on to argue,

Pure models of education for economic growth are difficult to find in flourishing democracies, since democracy is built on respect for each person, and the growth model respects only an aggregate. However, education systems all over the world are moving closer and closer to the growth model, without much thought about how ill-suited it is to the goals of democracy.


...producing economic growth does not mean producing democracy, and it certainly does not mean producing democracies that show respect for the liberty and conscience of all citizens.

Hope to see you there,

Kind regards,

Dylan Nickelson,
President, Deakin Philosophical Society.

PS. If you have become a DUSA Access member since paying your 2011 DPS membership, please let me know so that I can update our records. The DPS gets more funding for each member who is also a DUSA Access member, so letting me know will help keep the DPS in good shape.

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