Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Intrinsic value and education
    Barnes, Meredith Rachel ( 1994)
    The object of this enquiry was, firstly, to investigate the nature of intrinsic value, and, secondly, to discover what relationship, if any, it has with education. While intrinsic value remained difficult to actually define, several broad senses of the term were identified. That is, value of something as part of its intrinsic nature, value of something for its own sake as distinct from value due to something else of value to which it leads, and the prima facie sense of value attaching in the first instance to certain basic kinds of experience instinctively judged to be good or bad. Two broad approaches as to how value, and intrinsic value in particular, is conceived were identified, these being the objective and subjective approaches respectively; and much of Part I was occupied with examination and comparison of the different problems encountered by each. While the objective approach was held to be relatively untenable, due to its lack of assimilation of the inalienable element of human cognition in the meaning of value, the subjective approach was considered not to offer an acceptable alternative in the relativistic form in which it is generally known. An alternative version of the subjective approach was suggested, which provides a more stable and enduring foundation than can relativism, while incorporating the agent-basing element of value. Under this alternative approach, intrinsic value can be identified in the latter two senses in which the term is used. The views of three educationalists were considered, of whom two (Plato and Rousseau) have specifically accorded instrumental value to their respective conceptions of education, while the third (R. S. Peters) has related intrinsic value to his. It was found that this relationship is one of conceptual necessity, which offers little further enlightenment as to the nature of intrinsic value, yet indicates that such a relationship is nevertheless possible.