Denise Schaeffer ’90 Lecture—Rousseau on the Tacit Dimension of Democratic Education

December 7, 2017

What kind of education is best suited to democratic citizenship? Attempts to answer that question today often focus on the promotion of active civic engagement and the cultivation of particular knowledge and skills. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s political and educational theories in the 18th century inspired some of the current thinking about these matters, but at the same pose some important challenges to prevailing views. Denise Schaeffer ’90 explored some of the tensions in Rousseau's thought as a way of illuminating some important tensions that persist in the notion of a democratic education, and are worthy of consideration today—especially in the context of a liberal arts education.

Denise Schaeffer ’90 is Professor of Political Theory and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the College of the Holy Cross. Her books include: Rousseau on Education Freedom and Judgment and Socratic Philosophy and its Others.