Page:Democracy and Education.djvu/395

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Philosophy of Education

in distinction from those which aim simply at the preservation of established customs. Such societies were found to be democratic in quality, because of the greater freedom allowed the constituent members, and the conscious need of securing in individuals a consciously socialized interest, instead of trusting mainly to the force of customs operating under the control of a superior class. The sort of education appropriate to the development of a democratic community was then explicitly taken as the criterion of the further, more detailed analysis of education.

II. This analysis, based upon the democratic criterion, was seen to imply the ideal of a continuous reconstruction or reorganizing of experience, of such a nature as to increase its recognized meaning or social content, and as to increase the capacity of individuals to act as directive guardians of this reorganization. (See Chapters VIVII.) This distinction was then used to outline the respective characters of subject matter and method. It also defined their unity, since method in study and learning upon this basis is just the consciously directed movement of reorganization of the subject matter of experience. From this point of view the main principles of method and subject matter of learning were developed (Chapters XIIIXIV).

III. Save for incidental criticisms designed to illustrate principles by force of contrast, this phase of the discussion took for granted the democratic criterion and its application in present social life. In the subsequent chapters (XVIIIXXIII) we considered the present limitations of its actual realization. They were found to spring from the notion that experience consists of a variety of segregated domains, or interests, each having its own independent value, material, and method, each checking every other, and, when each is kept properly bounded by the others, forming a kind of 'balance of powers' in education. We then proceeded to an analysis of the various assumptions underlying this segregation. On the