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Teaching Ethics

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2017

Matthew Hayden
Pages 9-22

Education in Morality Through Natality
No More Morals

This article revisits John Wilson’s “first steps” in moral education—a conceptual analysis of morality—and what he calls an education in morality. Education in morality focuses on morality as a form of life with a specific domain in which it aims to initiate students, and on education as a growth-oriented, progressive activity. Arendt’s conception of natality in education is then used to show how it provides a catalyst for growth, discovery, and tradition-trumping newness, and acts as a stepping-stone to public action as morality and recognition of the plurality of human life. It becomes clear that the inherent sociability of morality forces the consideration of it as a public and social act. Education in morality must preserve the potential for the capacity to contribute to the development of morality and concurrently develop that capacity through the production of plurality that follows and the negotiations necessary for its preservation. Morality, then, must not be taught as a static set of immutable principles, but rather as an inclusive, adaptive process by and through which groups govern their associations.

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