Education, Liberty, and the State: The Evolution of American Public Education
In this conference we brought public choice insights to bear on the evolution of the public education system in the United States, culminated with an exploration of contemporary reform efforts.
Forming the Intellect and the Passions: Rousseau’s “Emile”
This conference looked at the nature and design of a “liberal” education, focusing primarily on education in adolescence as detailed in Rousseau’s Emile, a book widely regarded as the most influential modern philosophical work on education.
What Is the Purpose of Education in a Free Society?
This conference examined the purposes of education in a free society, exploring its past and looking toward the future. Main topics included the changing views of education’s purpose, from ancient philosophers to current thinkers; contrasting views (among classical theorists, Marxists, progressives, and traditionalists) regarding the education of American youth; and…
ALL Education CONFERENCES
Liberty, Public Policy, and the Blogosphere
This experimental program explored the role of the blogosphere in discussion about ideas of liberty today. We gathered a group of people working in like-minded/policy-oriented institutions, some of whom are active bloggers, and many of whom are not. We explored what is happening in the blogosphere today among people interested…
Education: Ideals and Practices
This symposium generated twelve original papers to examine the purpose, methods, and practices of education in a liberal society. The resulting discussion encouraged a constructive dialogue on education in a free society that blends analytical, historical, sociological, and economic perspectives.
Federalism, Markets, and School: Education Reform in a Free Society
The conference explored education reform and the role of the state from the perspective of economic theory.
Liberty, Democracy, and a “Useful” American Education
This conference compared "useful" and "liberal" philosophies of education during the transition from the Founding to the Progressive eras. We explored the relation between education and the democratic order, as well as what kind of education may be necessary to preserve democratic principles.
Liberty, Personal Responsibility, and Socratic Education
The goal of this conference was twofold: to think about Socrates as a teacher and student, and to explore the lessons to be learned from Socrates for educational purposes today. We examined the Socratic approach to knowledge and truth and its implications for the proper attitude and character of teacher…
Self-Education and Responsibility in American Education
Conferees explored the degree to which free individuals have a moral responsibility to pursue self-education in the American context, using the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Henry Adams, and Abraham Lincoln.
Education and Republican Liberty: Views from the American Founding
The American Founders were greatly concerned with how education might contribute to individual liberty and responsibility and to the flourishing of a free society. Broad questions were explored in this conference: What are the aims of education, as the American Founders understood them? Did they think that education should form…
The Progress of Ideas of Liberty
This conference brought together senior executives from foundations and think tanks to focus on the history of ideas of liberty and the institutions connected with fostering liberty, in the hope that such discussion would inform the perception of the present state of liberalism and how to move into the future.
Leadership in Education for a Free Society
This conference explored the role of excellence in higher education within a free society. We considered particularly the responsibility that university deans or presidents exercise over how college education prepares or fails to prepare the next generation to be responsible individuals living in a free society.
The American Founders and Education for Republican Liberty
This colloquium explored the educational ideas of the Founding Generation, and the connection between these ideas and the maintenance of liberty in the republic.
Educating the Free Citizen in the Modern World
This conference examined five significant thinkers from the first half of the twentieth century who addressed significant social, economic, and political challenges in their writings on education: John Dewey, Jacques Maritain, C. S. Lewis, F. R. Leavis, and T. S. Eliot.
Educating for Liberty and Happiness
This colloquium explored the nature and value of happiness as a foundation for virtue and civic duty and a condition and rationale for liberty in higher education.
The Liberal Arts and Liberal Education
Conferees discussed the purpose, content, and audience of a liberal arts education, and how such an education is related to the development and preservation of a free society.
Freedom and Responsibility in the Corridors of Academic Power: C. P. Snow’s “The Masters” and “The Affair”
This colloquium studied academic freedom and responsibility in the "Education in a Free Society" project, using two novels of C. P. Snow as the readings.
The Role of the State in Education
The program explored the role of the state in education, using the “apparent paradox” Goodrich saw in the statement “If, in a society already free, the state takes no action with regard to education, how can there be any assurance that the citizenry will know and understand the desirability of…
Higher Education and Markets: Smith, Mill, Veblen, Riesman, and Buchanan
The idea for this particular conference was inspired by The Economic Institutions of Higher Education by J. Patrick Raines and Charles G. Leathers. The authors considered not only the purposes of higher education and curricular issues, but also how best to finance higher education and how alternative financing arrangements shape…
Academic Freedom and Scholarly Responsibility in a Free Society: Edward Shils’s “The Calling of Education”
Using the works of Edwin Shils, this conference considered questions about the proper role of the university in a free society, what “academic freedom” is and whether it is important in higher education, and the responsibilities of faculty members.
Montessori and Liberty: Maria Montessori and Her Method of Education
The conference considered the question of how men and women destined for freedom should be educated through a close consideration of the theories and practices of Maria Montessori and a comparison of her views with those of Progressive and traditionalist educators.
The Future of Higher Education
Conferees interested in the changing nature of education reflected on the place of liberty, and the place of the whole idea of a university, in twenty-first-century education.
The German University in Crisis: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy and the Rise of National Socialism
This conference addressed the following question: Given that German universities were, from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1920s, models of humane scholarship, scientific probity, and liberal learning, how is it that they succumbed so rapidly to domination by Hitler and the Nazi party? How could academics, committed to the examined…
Liberty, Higher Education, and the Role of Trustees
This conference addressed fundamental questions facing trustees of colleges and universities (public and private). The key questions were whether higher education can promote a society of free and responsible individuals, and, if so, what is the role of the trustee in achieving that goal?
Liberty and the American University
Discussions of higher education have taken on new importance and prominence in the public sphere as changes in the demographics of students, intellectual life on campus, and the pedagogical techniques available to faculty have led to questions about the very purpose and essence of higher education in the United States.…
Education, Freedom, and Responsibility in Rousseau’s “Emile”
Conferees examined how Emile presents the education of a free and self-reliant individual, who would be a responsible citizen in a free society, and his description of the role of family life in securing freedom and responsibility.
‘These Bad Times’: Liberty, Individualism, and Education in Nineteenth-Century England
Conferees explored a series of Victorian thinkers’ skeptical reaction to modernity, assessing their worries about the dangers that modernity—specifically, utilitarianism and mechanization—posed to liberty, as well as their hope that education could moderate that danger.
Paradoxes of Liberal Education in the Age of Democratization and Internationalization
Through the use of literature, this conference considered the character of institutions of higher learning and whether they have lost clarity of purpose in recent times, explored what factors help or hinder institutions in their attempt to educate people, and examined what role “education” takes in a free society.
Liberty and Happiness
This colloquium explored the Founders' intention concerning the nature of the pursuit of happiness as a moral source and the relationship between happiness with life, liberty, and private property as an educational mandate in colleges and universities and corporations. The focus was on original documents and thinking and their renewal…
E. G. West’s “Education and the State”
The year 2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of E. G. West's Education and the State. This landmark work gave us a true history of public education in the United Kingdom, as well as a bird's-eye view of the politics that had so demeaned it. This conference revisited…
Critics and Defenders of the Modern University
This conference considered the role of the university in a free society with special attention toward the role of academic freedom, the effect of specialization on liberal education, the relationship between liberal education and a free society, and the kind of culture and the conception of citizenship that is promoted…
Liberal Education and the Liberty of Individuals
This colloquium focused on the idea of liberal education and its relation to individual liberty as well as the connections between education and the character of well-ordered civil society. The main text was Liberty Fund's publication of George Turnbull's Observations upon Liberal Education, but readings also included Aristotle, Locke, and…
The Idea of the University in Latin America
This colloquium discussed the current problems of higher education common to Latin America, but focused particularly on the Brazilian case, in light of its unique historical trajectory, philosophical background, the mission(s) universities actually perform currently, and how they square with their ideal role in a society based on individual liberty…
Liberal and Higher Education for a Free Society in Latin America
This colloquium discussed the fundamental aspects of a liberal education based on liberty and responsibility. Conferees had an opportunity to analyze, through a selection of classical texts on education, not only the idea of a university based on the liberal education tradition, but also a number of problems, such as…
Colleges and Universities in the Twenty-First Century: What Place for Moral Education?
Throughout most of the nineteenth century, moral education was regarded as a central mission of American colleges and universities, but it has come to occupy an increasingly marginalized role. This conference addressed questions about responsibility for university students’ moral formation and the possible restoration in contemporary higher education of venerable…