Moral Education and the Common School: Building on Wilson’s ‘New Introduction’

School of Education
Research Seminar Series 2013-2014
Moral Education and the Common School: Building on Wilson’s ‘New Introduction’
Dr. Richard Davies (Aberystwyth University)
November 26th, 5-6.30pm
Glasgow Room
In 1990 John Wilson published a single authored response to the multi-authored and multi-disciplinary ‘Introduction to Moral Education’ (Wilson, Williams and Sugarman, 1967). The new introduction purported to set out a systematic approach to moral education suitable for schools. It once again developed his widely used PHIL, KRAT, EMP, etc. terminology. Wilson was ‘…a towering figure in moral education…[his] work has been controversial and distinctive’ (Taylor, 2005) and continues to be so in moral education research and practice. A matter recognised in the posthumous award of a memorial lecture at the PESGB annual conference and supported by the Association of Moral Educators.
In this paper I begin by reviewing Wilson’s arguments in the ‘New Introduction’ (Wilson, 1990) before presenting a critique of the main aspects of his work. I conclude with a defence of a virtues approach to ‘moral education’, but claim that such an account is incompatible with the common school. I suggest that in the light of this schools ought to focus on supporting moral education, and one feasible option is to promote an ‘education in moral philosophy’ of the type Wilson suggests. This is, however, not to be confused with ‘moral education’.
Beginning this semester, the SoE will host a series of external speakers as part of the SoE Research Seminar Series. This will run throughout Semester 2 as well, and will cover a range of topics that we hope will be interesting to all members of academic staff. If colleagues have ideas for particular speakers that they would like to invite for next semester, please contact Patrick Alexander ( A full schedule for the seminar series will be posted in due course on the SoE Blog and in the Glasgow Room.
This lecturer has been organised in conjunction with the Oxford Branch of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.


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