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The French philosopher Jean‐François Lyotard (1934–98) claimed that two major myths, or meta‐narratives, have shaped and legitimized Western thinking for two centuries but are now no longer believed. These are the Myth of Liberation—the idea that history is the account of progress towards an achievable state of freedom and equality; and the Myth of Truth—the idea that any ‘truth’ can be objective, knowable, or verifiable. This claim, which is central to postmodernist philosophy, clearly questions our understanding of the purposes of education. Implicit within the current concept of education is the belief that it is an instrument for progress, not only of individuals but of society as a whole; and that the endeavours of science and the humanities will result in the discovery of further ‘truths’ about ourselves and the human condition. In this sense it could be argued that education is still embedded in, and perpetuates, the meta‐narratives which postmodernism brings into question.

Subjects: Education.

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