Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy

Univ of California Press
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Nel Noddings, one of the central figures in the contemporary discussion of ethics and moral education, argues that caring--a way of life learned at home--can be extended into a theory that guides social policy. Tackling issues such as capital punishment, drug treatment, homelessness, mental illness, and abortion, Noddings inverts traditional philosophical priorities to show how an ethic of care can have profound and compelling implications for social and political thought.

Instead of beginning with an ideal state and then describing a role for home and family, this book starts with an ideal home and asks how what is learned there may be extended to the larger social domain. Noddings examines the tension between freedom and equality that characterized liberal thought in the twentieth century and finds that--for all its strengths--liberalism is still inadequate as social policy. She suggests instead that an attitude of attentive love in the home induces a corresponding responsiveness that can serve as a foundation for social policy.

With her characteristic sensitivity to the individual and to the vulnerable in society, the author concludes that any corrective practice that does more harm than the behavior it is aimed at correcting should be abandoned. This suggests an end to the disastrous war on drugs. In addition, Noddings states that the caring professions that deal with the homeless should be guided by flexible policies that allow practitioners to respond adequately to the needs of very different clients. She recommends that the school curriculum should include serious preparation for home life as well as for professional and civic life.

Emphasizing the importance of improving life in everyday homes and the possible role social policy might play in this improvement, Starting at Home highlights the inextricable link between the development of care in individual lives and any discussion of moral life and social policy.
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About the author

Nel Noddings is Lee Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University. She is the author of Caring (California, 1984), Women and Evil (California, 1989), The Challenge to Care in Schools (1992), Educating for Intelligent Belief or Unbelief (1993), and Philosophy of Education (1995).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Jan 28, 2002
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Pages
349
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ISBN
9780520927568
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / General
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / Political
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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One of the most enduring and controversial issues in American education concerns the place of individual beliefs and moral standards in the classroom. Noddings argues that public schools should address the fundamental questions that teenagers inevitably rasie about the nature, value and meaning of life (and death), and to do so across the curriculum without limiting such existential and metaphysical discussions to separate religion, philosophy or even history classes. Explorations of the existence of a God or gods, and the value and validity of religious belief for societies or individuals, she writes “whether they are initiated by students or teachers, should be part of the free exchange of human concerns—a way in which people share their awe, doubts, fears, hopes, knowledge and ignorance.” Such basic human concerns, Noddings maintains, are relevant to nearly every subject and should be both non-coercive and free from academic evalution.

“Nel Noddings probes the many ways in which children’s questions about God and gods, existence, and the meaning of life can and should be integrated into life in classrooms and the real world of the public schools.”
—From the Foreword

“This is a rich and sensitive book that will give teachers, administrators, parents, philosophers of education—any concerned citizen—the basis for more substantial discussion and concrete proposals.”
—Free Inquiry

“Impressive in its sweep of possibilities for exploration in the school curriculum and teacher education.”
—Educational Theory

Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.

Few ancient works have been as influential as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and emperor of Rome (A.D. 161–180). A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, it remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style. For anyone who struggles to reconcile the demands of leadership with a concern for personal integrity and spiritual well-being, the Meditations remains as relevant now as it was two thousand years ago.

In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in thirty-five years—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy. In fresh and unencumbered English, Hays vividly conveys the spareness and compression of the original Greek text. Never before have Marcus’s insights been so directly and powerfully presented.

With an Introduction that outlines Marcus’s life and career, the essentials of Stoic doctrine, the style and construction of the Meditations, and the work’s ongoing influence, this edition makes it possible to fully rediscover the thoughts of one of the most enlightened and intelligent leaders of any era.
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