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Durham e-Theses
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The treatment of education in the "Encyclopédie"

Wilson, Donald Sutherland (1985) The treatment of education in the "Encyclopédie". Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study examines what the Encyclopédie has to say about education. Material has been accumulated from a wide selection of articles contributed by more than twenty-five identified and several anonymous writers. The approach to the selected material is thematic. The first chapter outlines major problems encountered. Those articles most often cited are indicated and some facts are given about Encyclopédistes concerned with education. A short section on self-education concludes the chapter. Chapter II deals with ideas expressed to do with the purpose and management of education, ending with the concept of education as preparation for life. The intensely complex question of religious and moral education is tackled in Chapter III Other aspects of the curriculum, especially language studies and history, are considered in Chapter IV, which ends with a note on assessment. Short chapters, V and VI, deal respectively with the education of the infant and of women. Finally, Chapter VII considers post-school education: universities, vocational and professional training, apprenticeships, and the "seconde éducation". This study demonstrates that the "Société de Gens de Lettres" were not of one mind on the subject of education. In this instance, the Encyclopédie recorded in large measure "la façon commune de penser", with its attendant confusion, contradictions and shallowness. Some traces of innovatory thought are however discernible amidst these common-places; emergent secularism, nascent humanism, relativism in moral values, the questioning of philosophical absolutes, and so on. In examining the treatment of this particular topic, the thesis contributes to an understanding of the true nature of the Encyclopédie.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1985
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 May 2013 14:10

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