What does it mean to be an educated person?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The competition question ‘What Does It Mean To Be An Educated Person?’ is associated with a powerful and influential line of thought in the philosophy of R. S. Peters. It is a question that needs always to be asked again. I respond by asking what it means, now, to be an educated person—that is, how the value of being an educated person is currently understood, and, further, how it might be understood differently. The starting point of this paper then is not exactly the question of how we should best conceive of education, or of the educated person, in terms, for example, of initiation or of moral development. Instead I am concerned with who the supposedly educated person is today, according to the particular discourses and practices to which we are subject. I begin, then, by outlining the notion of the entrepreneurial self from the perspective of governmentality, with particular reference to questions of economy and the way in which the economic imperative is present in current policy. I then reconsider the idea of the educated person with reference to notions of economy and visibility as these relate to ideas of education and the self in Plato’s The Republic. Discussion of readings of The Republic and of other texts of Plato by Stanley Cavell and Michel Foucault indicates how prevailing constructions of knowledge, practice, and subjectivity might be resisted. The question of what it means to be an educated person is thereby released from a particular mode of accounting for the self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-123
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'What does it mean to be an educated person?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this