Paul Hirst and religious education’s curriculum question; or, how Hirst never thought religion was a form of knowledge at all

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Abstract

Hirst consistently listed religion as a form of knowledge. He had numerous chances to revise this position, but did not. However, whenever Hirst actually considered religion and the curriculum in specific detail, either he did so without reference to the curriculum principles of liberal education, or he implicitly or explicitly rejected his own claim that religion was a form of knowledge. In this article I hope to contribute to an appreciation of Hirst’s work by showing how attempting to understand his thinking on religious education against the background of forms of knowledge both adds to confusion about what Hirst intended the forms of knowledge to be, and hinders an understanding of what his explicitly stated curriculum position on religion actually was. I speculate that Hirst included religion as a form of knowledge only as an ‘agnostic placeholder’ acknowledging the possibility that religion might turn out to be a form of knowledge. I then offer a brief assessment of this revised interpretation of Hirst’s position from the perspective of contemporary scholarship in the philosophy of religious education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Early online date1 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Education

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