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Liberal Education in a Knowledge Society   Barry Smith

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$29.95       paper
320 pages
(June 2002)
0-8126-9508-9 $39.95       cloth
320 pages
(June 2002)

Liberal Education in a Knowledge Society

Barry Smith

Liberal education—education which is not training for work—used to be governed by a canon, a recognized body of knowledge which was considered valuable for transmission from one generation to the next. This old idea of liberal education has come under fire because of the growth of scientific knowledge and the changing role of the universities in "knowledge building."

This volume looks at the thinking of educational theorist Carl Bereiter, who has tackled the problem of the liberal education canon in a new way. Bereiter proposes that we view the main task of formal education as "enculturation into World 3". World 3, an idea adapted from Karl Popper (and contrasted with both World 1, the world of physical objects, and World 2, the world of subjective mental states), is much more than the body of accepted ideas. Becoming enculturated into World 3 means learning how to function effectively in creating, interpreting, and improving the objects in World 3—ideas, theories, problems, and conjectures.

The chapters examine both the theory of mind implied by Bereiter's work and the applications of his thought to social and pedagogical issues.


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