Posted on by kathiemm

A review of Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations by Dr. James PagePeace Education book by James Page

Given that you are visiting, you probably have some belief in the value of peace. But how about peace education? Should we have courses on peace—in adult education programs? colleges? secondary schools? even elementary schools?

Or, does peace education sound like a way of exposing children and others to pie-in-the-sky ideas or, worse yet, a terrorist plot to lull them into complacency?

Is peace education justifiable?

In his book, Dr. James Page makes a powerful argument for the value of peace education, arguing that international agreements, the major world religions, and five major ethical/philosophical traditions all provide support for that value.

Dr. Page’s overview of international agreements identifying peace as a human right should be read by everyone. Many Americans seem to have no inkling that documents signed by their government indicate that they have a right to live in a world of peace.

His reference to Dale Brown, who said that “Christians are the only people who are not aware that Christ was committed to non-violence,” (p. 27) provides considerable food for thought.

The bulk of Peace Education is devoted to demonstrating support for peace education within major theoretical traditions.  To give a few examples:

  • Wwithin the virtue ethics tradition, with its emphasis on individual character, peace is a virtue that can be developed through education.
  • Within the consequentialist tradition, where the emphasis is on “the greatest good for the greatest number,” peace education can be seen as a step towards “the universal betterment of humankind” (p. 63).
  • Even within the conservative political tradition, peace education can be validated as a way of contributing to orderly social change.

Page’s book is not a how-to manual for developing peace education courses; it is a scholarly philosophical book designed to provide theoretical foundations for teaching about peace. It is likely to have considerable appeal to philosophers and ethicists in general as well as to proponents of peace and peace education.

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

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