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Extra resources for Cultural Diversity, Liberal Pluralism and Schools: Isaiah Berlin and Education (Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education (Numbered))

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Salomone, 2000: 121) What has been thought of as a defining moment in the ‘culture war’ between liberal intellectuals and communities of believers (Macedo, 1995a, 1995b) came about in 1983 when a group of Christian fundamentalists launched a complaint against the local school board of Hawkins County, Tennessee. This complaint centred on the use by Hawkins County schools of a series of reading books (the Holt Series) that included material considered inappropriate and offensive to their religious beliefs by members of the Christian fundamentalist community.

The number of children who are home-schooled far outweighs those affected by the Yoder and Mozert decisions. Autonomy and belonging Feinberg and Callan have both amended somewhat their earlier accounts of autonomy in order to find some space for a consideration of the good of belonging. Feinberg (2004) relies on a distinction between a propositional rationality that requires of a truth claim that it survives rational scrutiny and a pragmatic rationality that is inclusive of claims that are warranted because they cohere with other beliefs and allow believers to live well rather than live true.

In considering Enlightenment liberal reactions to Yoder and Mozert I aim to demonstrate the connections with those aspects of Berlin’s moral and political philosophy that have their roots in his often expressed admiration for Enlightenment thinking. According to Jeremy Waldron (1993: 43), ‘[t]he relationship between liberal thought and the legacy of the Enlightenment cannot be stressed too strongly’. I begin with a brief sketch of what liberal educators have taken to be the defining ideas of the Enlightenment.

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