Character Education without Indoctrination or Relativism
Keywords:virtue, value, idealism, behavior, indoctrination, relativism, character education
We are interested in a philosophical view of character education that avoids both indoctrination and relativism and we find that Leonardo Polo's proposal meets both conditions. We argue that the problem of reducing virtue to either conceptualized (or idealized) expression or to behavior makes indoctrination possible. The reduction of virtue to its conceptual expression confuses virtues with values, and the reduction of virtue to its behavioral expression confuses virtues with routines. To understand the first reduction, we turn to Scheler and for the second to James. On the contrary, the Aristotelian proposal of virtue prevents reducing virtue to routine and Polo's understanding of hab- it prevents the confusion of virtue and value. In addition, Leonardo Polo's way of understanding the person and specifically the transcendentals of co-existence and personal love avoids the opposite danger of relativism. The educational implications of these views are elaborated upon.