Page:Democracy and Education.djvu/433

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Philosophy of Education

of maintaining a vital connection between knowledge and activity. What is learned and employed in an occupation having an aim and involving coöperation with others is moral knowledge, whether consciously so regarded or not. For it builds up a social interest and confers the intelligence needed to make that interest effective in practice. Just because the studies of the curriculum represent standard factors in social life, they are organs of initiation into social values. As mere school studies, their acquisition has only a technical worth. Acquired under conditions where their social significance is realized, they feed moral interest and develop moral insight. Moreover, the qualities of mind discussed under the topic of method of learning are all of them intrinsically moral qualities. Open-mindedness, singlemindedness, sincerity, breadth of outlook, thoroughness, assumption of responsibility for developing the consequences of ideas which are accepted, are moral traits. The habit of identifying moral characteristics with external conformity to authoritative prescriptions may lead us to ignore the ethical value of these intellectual attitudes, but the same habit tends to reduce morals to a dead and machine-like routine. Consequently while such an attitude has moral results, the results are morally undesirable—above all in a democratic society where so much depends upon personal disposition.

4. The Social and the Moral.—All of the separations which we have been criticizing—and which the idea of education set forth in the previous chapters is designed to avoid—come from taking morals too narrowly—by giving them, on one side, a sentimental goody-goody turn without reference to effective ability to do what is socially needed, and, on the other side, by overemphasis of convention and tradition which limits morals to a list of definitely stated acts. As matter of fact, morals are as broad as acts which concern our relationships with others. And potentially this includes all our acts, even though their social bearing may not be thought of at the time of per-