Democratic Minds for a Complex Society

Jamie Cohen-Cole

in The Open Mind

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2014 | ISBN: 9780226092164
Published online September 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780226092331 | DOI:
Democratic Minds for a Complex Society

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This chapter examines the debate over pedagogy that roiled education and policymaking circles in the 1930s and first half of the 1940s. Discussions were imbued with politics and with midcentury anxiety about the fracturing of the modern world. Questions of pedagogy frequently became philosophical discussions about the meaning of proper citizenship, the definition of a good society, and the true meaning of democracy. In the end, neither liberal education nor general education succeeded in achieving dominance. Solution came in the form of a synthesis developed at Harvard in 1943-1945. The work of a committee of professors and outside consultants was to provide a vision of the right kind of mind for America that came to have lasting influence. That vision emphasized the cultivation of expert mental skills over factual knowledge as the basis of citizenship.

Keywords: Liberal education; General education; Pedagogy; History; Citizenship; expert

Chapter.  8174 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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