Studies in Philosophy and Education
The project we highlight in this article stems from our philosophical work on moral disagreements that appear to be—and sometimes are—intractable. Deliberative democratic theorists tout the merits of dialogue as an effective way to bridge differences of values and opinion, ideally resulting in agreement, or perhaps more often resulting in greater mutual understanding. Could dialogue mitigate disagreements about a controversial education policy such as affirmative action? Could it foster greater understanding? We conceived of a project that would simultaneously fulfill two goals that we had as philosophers, education researchers, and aspiring public intellectuals. First, it would allow us to use philosophy in research, grounding our mixed methods research in a philosophically informed framework. The tools and analytic techniques that are particular to philosophers felt uniquely suited for an empirical study concerning political theory. Second, we aimed to use philosophy in the community. We were able to put our own expertise in philosophy and race-conscious education policy to good use by purposefully creating opportunities for diverse community members in our larger metropolitan area to engage in dialogue and deliberation with each other over the issue of affirmative action.
Moses, M. S., Saenz, L. P., & Farley, A. N. (2015). The Central Role of Philosophy in a Study of Community Dialogues. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 34(2): 193-203. DOI: 10.1007/s11217-014-9416-5.