Abstract The “paradox of indoctrination” has proven to be a persistent problem in discussions of the cultivation of autonomy through education. In short, if indoctrination means instilling beliefs without reasons, and if children lack the rational capacity to evaluate reasons, how can that capacity be cultivated without indoctrination? Some educational theorists have relied on a transcendental justification of rational autonomy that avoids indoctrination, while others have accepted that some indoctrination is inevitable, focusing instead on defending acceptable forms of indoctrination. In this essay, Chris Hanks draws on a conception of rationality, mind, and nature developed by John McDowell to suggest an alternative understanding of the relation between indoctrination and autonomy. He argues that McDowell’s notion of the “space of reasons” defuses standard debates about indoctrination. Here, rationality is understood in both a naturalistic sense, whereby the development of autonomy is the process of being awakened to the space of reasons, and in a sui generis sense, whereby reason cannot be reduced to mechanistic principles or relations. The implications of this view for education point us to the notion of Bildung as the process that cultivates rational autonomy.