Debating Education

Debating Education : Is There a Role for Markets?

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Debating Education puts two leading scholars in conversation with each other on the subject of education-specifically, what role, if any, markets should play in policy reform. David Schmidtz and Harry Brighouse each advance nuanced arguments and respond to each other, presenting contrasting views on education as a public good. Schmidtz argues on behalf of a market-driven approach, making the case that educational opportunities do not need to be equal in
order to be good. The ideal of education is not equally preparing students to win a race but maximally preparing each student to make a contribution.

Harry Brighouse instead focuses on inequality, particularly the unequal distribution of rewards. He argues that justice requires prioritizing the prospects of the bottom 30% of the population, whose life prospects are much worse than justice would demand, given the current wealth of society. The moral imperative of education should be to improve this group's range of opportunities. Brighouse expresses serious skepticism that market mechanisms are capable of this task, due to imperfections in
educational markets, a lack of appropriate regulations, political influence, and other systemic obstacles.

At its heart, Debating Education is concerned with the nature, function, and legitimate scope of voluntary exchange as a form of social relation, and how education raises concerns that are not at issue when it comes to trading relationships between consenting adults. It will appeal to scholars and students of ethics alike, specifically those who study political philosophy, philosophy of education, as well as individuals interested in educational and public policy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 145 x 208 x 20mm | 404g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199300941
  • 9780199300945

Table of contents

Preface-Harry Brighouse and David Schmidtz
Preface-Harry Brighouse

Editors' Introduction - Harry Brighouse and David Schmidtz

Part 1: Human Capital in the 21st Century: DAVID SCHMIDTZ
Introduction - What Are Markets?
Chapter 1 - Charter Schools
Chapter 2 - Be Careful What You Measure
Chapter 3 - Society Is Not a Race
Chapter 4 - Justice and the Division of Labor
Chapter 5 - What's So Good About Education?

Part 2: Debating Markets in Education: HARRY BRIGHOUSE
Chapter 1 - Setting the Stage
Chapter 2 - What Should Schooling Be About and How Should It Be Distributed?
Chapter 3 - The Ineliminable Role of Markets in Schooling
Chapter 4 - The Case Against Markets in Education
Chapter 5 - How To Improve Education

EPILOGUE: Harry Brighouse and David Schmidtz
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About Harry Brighouse

David Schmidtz ( is Kendrick Professor of Philosophy (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences), Eller Chair of Service-Dominant Logic (College of Management), founding Director of the Center for Philosophy of Freedom, founder of the Department of Political Economy and Moral Sciences, and editor in chief of Social Philosophy & Policy, at the University of Arizona.

Harry Brighouse is Professor of Philosophy, affiliate professor of educational policy studies, and Dickson Bascom Professor of the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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