On pliability and progress: Challenging current conceptions of eighteenth-century French educational thought

Tal Gilead*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Examining the educational writings of three of the eighteenth-century's most innovative thinkers, the Abbe de Saint-Pierre, Morelly and Helvetius, this article challenges the currently accepted view that it was a belief in human pliability which gave rise to the contemporary groundbreaking faith in the power of education to improve society. The article delineates an intellectual process that culminated in the stance that man's innate behavioural tendencies are unalterable. It argues that, at least prior to Rousseau, the eighteenth-century faith in the power of education to improve society rested on a conviction that it is possible to beneficially direct man's fixed behavioural tendencies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalLondon Review of Education
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Education
  • Eighteenth century
  • France
  • Philosophy
  • Pliability
  • Progress

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'On pliability and progress: Challenging current conceptions of eighteenth-century French educational thought'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this