Moral education, mindfulness and secularisation

Hyland, Terry (2011) Moral education, mindfulness and secularisation. Prospero, 17 (1). pp. 7-15. ISSN 1358-6785

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In seeking answers to the question of how to revitalise the teaching of humanities in our 'culturally shell-shocked society' Chris Ormell (2010) discusses a number of interesting issues surrounding the secularisation of contemporary culture which has accompanied the onset of modernity. In the process of seeking ways of fostering a healing process to counteract the 'commercial brainwash' (ibid.,p.31) and thus establish a universal moral foundation on which to base humanities, a range of relevant topics - including the information revolution, multiculturalism and faith schools - are explored. I would like to use the concerns raised in Ormell's analysis to examine in more depth some general issues surrounding moral education in a secular and materialistic age. In particular, I want to argue that - although secularisation can be seen to be a positive development in terms of establishing the appropriate moral and intellectual climate for deep and rich learning - it has left too much of a moral vacuum which has been filled negatively either by forms of hedonistic materialism or religious fundamentalism. As an antidote to this malaise, I will draw on some of the work of the leading secularists - the so-called 'new atheists' such as Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett and, in particular, Harris - to argue for a secular form of spirituality which may serve to fill the moral vacuum in more rationally defensible and other-regarding ways. In the process, I will stress the utility of mindfulness practice as a means of both fostering and maintaining an educationally justifiable climate based on social values supported by universal moral principles.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of the article, definitive article published in Prospero 17(1), Spring 2011.
Uncontrolled Keywords: mindfulness, moral education, secularisation, new atheism
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Education
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:49
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2014 09:11

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