UNDERSTANDING AGENCY AND EDUCATING CHARACTER

Authors

  • Klas Roth

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Education
      Stockholm University
      KLAS ROTH is Professor in the Department of Education at Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; e-mail <klas.roth@edu.su.se>. His primary areas of scholarship are the practical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, philosophy of education, and cosmopolitanism and education.
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KLAS ROTH is Professor in the Department of Education at Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; e-mail <klas.roth@edu.su.se>. His primary areas of scholarship are the practical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, philosophy of education, and cosmopolitanism and education.

Abstract

How can we understand human agency, and what does it mean to educate character? In this essay Klas Roth develops a Kantian notion, one that suggests we render ourselves efficacious and autonomous in education and elsewhere. This requires, among other things, that we are successful in bringing about the intended result through our actions and the means used, and that we act in accordance with and are motivated by the Categorical Imperative. It also requires that we are or strive to become virtuous and that we engage in moral reflection, and, furthermore, that actions are done for the sake of duty, that is, out of respect for the moral law. We accomplish such aims by developing our predispositions, namely the technical, the pragmatic, and the moral predisposition in a society. The extent to which we achieve this, Roth contends, demonstrates what we are prepared to make of ourselves.

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