Theory and Research in Education vol:6 issue:1 pages:71-93
Liberals champion the view that promoting autonomy—seeing to it that our children develop into individuals who are self-governing in the conduct of their lives—is a vital aim of education, though one generally accredited as being subsidiary to well-being. Our prime goal in this paper is to provide a partial validation of this liberal ideal against the backdrop of a freedom-sensitive attitudinal hedonism—our favored life-ranking axiology. We propose that there is a pivotal connection between the concept of maximizing well-being and another concept central in the philosophy of education and in the literature on free agency: the concept of our springs of action, such as our desires or beliefs, being “truly our own” or, alternatively, autonomous. We suggest that it is the freedom that moral responsibility requires that bridges the overarching aim of securing well-being, on the one hand, and the subsidiary aim of promoting autonomy, on the other.