Moral education in the community of inquiry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Moral inquiry – inquiry with children and young people into the justification for subscribing to moral standards – is central to moral education and philosophical in character. The community of inquiry (CoI) method is an established and attractive approach to teaching philosophy in schools. There is, however, a problem with using the CoI method to engage pupils in moral inquiry: some moral standards should be taught directively, with the aim of bringing it about that pupils understand and accept the justification for subscribing to them; but directive moral teaching is widely thought to be impermissible in the CoI. In this article I identify, and push back against, three sources of resistance to directive teaching in the CoI literature: (i) the idea that imparting moral beliefs is indoctrinatory; (ii) the idea that questions discussed in the CoI must be open; and (iii) the idea that teachers in the CoI must be philosophically self-effacing. I argue for a more expansive understanding of the CoI method – one in which there is, after all, room for directive moral teaching.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Philosophy in Schools
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 May 2020