Preparing for the Symposium Anselm Feuerbach, Das Gastmahl des Plato, erste Fassung (Plato’s Symposium)
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Preparing for the Symposium Anselm Feuerbach, Das Gastmahl des Plato, erste Fassung (Platos Symposium) Slide 2 You will need to be prepared to speak for three minutes (no less), and to use Kants notion of a principle to argue that your form of education either is or is not in the universal interest. (The choice of whether it is or not is up to you.) It is important to include quotations from Kant, as you would in an essay. You will find yourself in a group with three others, each of whom will discuss a different form of schooling. After you have all presented your cases, the assessing tutor will ask you a series of questions: some questions will be directed at individuals and some at the group as a whole. It will be your job to explain and defend your position. In preparing for this symposium you should therefore anticipate the kinds of questions which you might be asked and be ready to address them. Slide 3 In total, symposia will last no longer than 45 minutes. You will be marked on two elements: (1) your initial three minute spoken presentation; (2) your defence and discussion of your principle. You will also be asked to submit a 500 word piece of prose, also answering the question: Are x (Faith Schools, Special Needs Schools, Selective/Grammar Schools, Independent/Private Schools) in the interest of all? Although this piece of writing will have much the same content as your three minute presentation, we ask you not to read this out. You may use notes in order to give your spoken presentation. Slide 4 An objective principle 1. Applies to all rational persons at all times Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (Kant, 1990: 38, 421). Slide 5 How, then, might we be sure that our principles are not the product disguised self-concern? Kant writes: I willingly concede that no one can have certain awareness of having fulfilled his duty completely unselfishly this is too much to ask for But man is aware with the utmost clarity that he ought to fulfil his duty completely unselfishly Perhaps no recognised and respected duty has ever been carried out by anyone without some selfishness or interference from other motives; perhaps no one will ever succeed in doing so (Kant, 1991: 69) In other words, our duty is not simply to follow universal and objective principles, but also to struggle to do so. Slide 6 An objective principle 2. Treats others as persons not things, respecting the dignity of persons as ends in themselves. Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only. (Kant, 1990: 46, 429) Slide 7 An objective principle 3. Guarantees the autonomy of all persons. Enlightenment is mans emergence from his self- incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use ones understanding without the guidance from another... The motto of enlightenment: Sapere Aude! Have courage to use your own understanding! (original emphasis, Kant, 1991: 54) Slide 8 Kant writes: This principle of humanity, and in general of every rational creature an end in itself, is the supreme limiting condition on the freedom of action of each man (Kant, 1990: 47-48, 432). When formulating and following principles we should always measure and limit our personal interests and desires in terms of our (universal) duty, or, as Kant puts it: [T]he objective end ought to constitute the supreme limiting condition of all subjective ends whatever they may be (Kant, 1990: 47-48, 432). Slide 9 Kant believes that individuals have to limit their freedom of choice when fulfilling their duty. However, Kant points us to the depths of freedom; he asserts: Since virtue is based on inner freedom, it contains a positive command to man, namely to bring all his capacities and inclinations under his (reasons) control and so to rule over himself... for unless reason holds the reins of government in its own hands, mans feelings and inclinations play the master over him. (Kant, 1996: 166, 408) Slide 10 All parents have the right to home educate their children. Does it apply to all rational persons at all times? Does it treat others as persons, respecting the dignity of persons as ends in themselves? Does it guarantee the autonomy of all persons? Slide 11 As every child has a right to education, and many parents are unable to provide it, the state has a duty to compel all parents to commit their children to schooling Does it apply to all rational persons at all times? Does it treat others as persons or things, respecting the dignity of persons as ends in themselves? Does it guarantee the autonomy of all persons? Slide 12 Preparing for your symposium Groups: A Your subject: Faith Schools Your questions: What is a faith school? What are the entry requirements for faith schools? Does the state support all faiths in establishing such schools? BYour subject: Special Needs Schools Your questions: What is a special needs school? Who attends special needs schools? What sorts of special needs schools are there? C Your subject: Selective Schools Your questions: What is a selective school? What can the entry requirements for selective schools be? What sorts of selective schools are there? DYour subject: Independent Schools Your questions: What is an independent school? What can the entry requirements for independent schools be? What sorts of independent schools are there?