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Of Human Potential: An Essay in the Philosophy of Education


reviewed by Margret Buchman 1986

coverTitle: Of Human Potential: An Essay in the Philosophy of Education
Author(s): Israel Scheffler
Publisher: Routledge/Falmer, New York
ISBN: 0710205716, Pages: , Year: 1985
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Israel Scheffler’s reconstruction of human potential turns the concept inside out. The traditional language of potential accounts for individual development in terms of intrinsic, fixed givens. Scheffler argues that potentials are variable outcomes that depend on social contexts. His main target is the prohibitive use of the traditional language of potential, which bars children from desirable learning-s or condemns their pursuit as useless. This book contains strong medicine for educators and policymakers who trust that appeals to the facts can decide what children can and ought to learn. Instead, Scheffler fixes our attention steadily on responsibilities for choice and change. Scheffler repudiates three “myths of potential”: the false beliefs that potentials are unchangeable, uniformly good, and harmonious, or consistent with one another. This repudiation is the scaffold for Scheffler’s reconstruction. To highlight its radical nature, I will compare the development of potentials to “crystallization.” There is one fundamental way in which... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 88 Number 2, 1986, p. 302-305
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 648, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 3:20:52 AM

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