If this is indoctrination, we are all indoctrinated

Armstrong, L. (2022) If this is indoctrination, we are all indoctrinated. Theory and Research in Education, 20(3), pp. 272-288. (doi: 10.1177/14778785221143770)

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When thinking about moral education, a concern of liberals is that such education ought not to be indoctrinatory. There are various definitions of indoctrination, but a common theme is that indoctrination prevents us from critically assessing our own beliefs. Indoctrinatory education, then, teaches a doctrine in such a way that students will not countenance any alternative doctrines. A state which forced its citizens to endorse a doctrine in this way would not be a liberal state. However, if indoctrination consists in an inability to critically assess our own beliefs, I argue that we are all partly indoctrinated. Evidence drawn from neuroscience and psychology suggests that the basis of our beliefs lies in emotion rather than reason, and there is no independent space from which we can critically assess our own belief systems. This is not to justify an explicit form of state indoctrination, in which the state forces beliefs upon us. Instead, it is to assess problems with how we understand indoctrination within education. There is no entirely adequate solution to these problems, though education aimed at open-mindedness offers the most promise.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Dr Luke
Authors: Armstrong, L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Theory and Research in Education
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-3192
Published Online:09 December 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Theory and Research in Education 20(3): 272-288
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190423ESRC Doctoral Training Centre 2011...Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J500136/1Research and Innovation Services