The dawn of a new millenium seems an appropriate time to re-visit the debate about purpose in the education and training of older people, especially in view of the current political emphasis on lifelong learning, not just in the United Kingdom, but at an international level as well. Notions of the individual and collective responsibility to continue learning throughout life are by no means new. They appear in different versions in the writings of Plato; in early Chinese philosophy; in the work of Comenius; and are implicit within the Jewish faith. Glendenning has raised these kinds of questions on several occasions since 1991, most recently emphasising that critical educational gerontology would also assert that life experiences have been and continue to be a learning process and that reflection on these processes can be liberating. Glendenning may be correct in his insistence on the need for a new paradigm within which to explore major questions concerning later life education.