chapter  11
14 Pages

Liberal Education and Intrinsically Worthwhile Activities

In these final two chapters it is proposed to consider our third group of educational aims, namely those which are supposed to include in their justification notions of intrinsic value or the worthwhileness of pursuing certain kinds of knowledge, understanding or activity for their own sakes. Though the successful pursuit of these aims will doubtless effect some kind of improvement in the learner, they are not primarily justified by being obviously in his interest, or because they develop something already present or inherent in him. They will doubtless broaden the scope of his autonomy and may well make him a more valuable employee. No doubt they will have valuable social side effects (Oakeshott, 1971, pp. 59-74) but these are incidental to or consequent on their supposed intrinsic value. For some writers (Peters, 1966, p. 85; Straughan and Wilson, 1983, pp. 16--33; Wilson and Cowell, 1983) these are the only truly educational aims, the political and social aims discussed in the previous four chapters being deprecatingly dismissed as regrettable concessions to political expediency.