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Title: Diderot's educational ideas
Author: Thompson, Dorothy Enid
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1973
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In his translation of Shaftesbury's Enquiry Concerning Virtue and Merit, Diderot proposed that a system of principles based on the equation of virtue and happiness could form a moral instruction to replace the lamentable contemporary education. With the Lettre sur les aveugles, he suggested that moral education could be difficult, since man's moral ideas could be relative, dependent on the varying sense-impressions received. Nevertheless, experience being of supreme importance in the acquisition of ideas, the educationalist, who directs experience, is still important. In the Pensees sur l'interpretation de la nature Diderot continued his dissection of the intellectual processes, to suggest a balanced reliance on fact and hypothesis. Considering physiology as well as psychology, he concluded in the Reve de d'Alembert that education is linked with innate talent in the production of the genius. In his moral ideas, in Droit naturel, while continuing to claim that virtue and happiness are inextricably bound together, Diderot reconsidered the disconcerting case of the evil-doer who is not converted to goodness by rational arguments. His Refutation d'Helvetius concluded that both moral and intellectual education were desirable and, to a certain extent, possible. As a background may be seen the spate of educational treatises in the second half of the eighteenth century, emphasising the teaching of practical skills and patriotic ideas: Diderot was a part of his time in his preoccupations, although he discussed the problems with individuality. His association with educationalists and his part in the publication of the work De l'Education publique show his constant interest in the details of educational reforms. After his trip to Russia, where the need for reform was recognised and a number of schemes had been drawn up, Diderot's own Plan d'une universite gave practical proof of his knowledge and originality in the field of education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy