War in the classroom : a philosophical treatment of the problems posed by war for educators
This thesis addresses the problems inherent in teaching on war in schools. The focus is on the moral acceptability of killing in war, and the issues this raises for educators. It argues that war can only properly be presented in the curriculum as a controversial issue. In the first chapter it is maintained that war is undeniably a moral matter. Beliefs about aggression are explored to show that international military conflict is not an unavoidable feature of human existence and that war is a prima facie evil. Grounds for the absolute prohibition on taking life are then examined in Chapter 2, to demonstrate that pacifism is not an uncontestable stance. Just war thinking is investigated in Chapter 3. The immunity of civilians demanded by just war theory is shown to present particular difficulties in relation to twentieth century warfare. From the analysis in the first three chapters, the controversiality of war becomes plain. Some reactions to Peace Education, explored in Chapter 4, reflect the anxieties felt by many at the prospect of the moral dilemmas of war being debated in the classroom. The problems for the educator are exacerbated by fears of indoctrination and doubts over the value of teaching on war in schools. In Chapter 5 principles which ought to inform all teaching on war are identified. It is claimed that war must be explicitly presented as a controversial issue and that the teaching should be unbiased, balanced and impartial, adhering to coherence and consistency. Application of these principles to methodology is followed by reflection, in Chapter 6, on the selection of content for teaching on war. Consideration is given to knowledge and understanding, skills, values and dispositions. It is argued that nuclear war should be included and that the value of peace can legitimately be taught.