"The question of the ethical life of the teacher is as old as philosophy; but in the contemporary world this has been transformed into a question of professional ethics. In The Good Life of Teaching , Chris Higgins brings this newer question of professionalism back to its philosophical roots. Anyone who experiences teaching as a vocation – in the sense of a calling – but also wants to participate in the vocation of teaching – in the sense of a profession – will want to read this book." — Jonathan Lear, The University of Chicago ‘This is an exemplary book in philosophy of education. It combines intellectual rigour, ethical seriousness and imaginative verve in a finely pitched exploration of the nature of teaching. Philosophers will applaud how its argument for the pertinence to education of a wisely chosen group of key thinkers creatively extends our understanding of their work. More important, teachers will be deeply confirmed or transformed by its sane vision of what can make their work both noble and sustainable.’ — Joseph Dunne, Cregan Professor Emeritus in philosophy of education, Dublin City University
From the Back Cover
What sort of work is teaching, and how does teaching shape the teacher? And why exactly do these questions matter within a ′helping profession′ where altruistic talk of service dominates? In addressing these questions, this book offers not only a new statement in the philosophy of teaching but also an important advance in professional ethics. Drawing on recent developments in virtue ethics, Higgins demonstrates why an ethics of teaching must prioritize the question of the teacher′s own self–enactment and self–cultivation, considering how the practice of teaching presents opportunities and obstacles for the teacher′s own growth. By examining the major theories of practical philosophy on the terrain of teaching, this book sheds light on long–standing philosophical problems about self–interest and altruism, personal freedom and social roles, and practical wisdom and personhood. With the use of close reconstructions and vivid illustrations, he offers a fresh appreciation of a variety of neo–praxis philosophers including Hannah Arendt, John Dewey, Hans–Georg Gadamer and Alasdair MacIntyre. A rigorous and accessible work of practical ethics, The Good Life of Teaching connects questions about the nature of teaching, teacher motivation and teacher education with more general questions about the relation of work to human flourishing. It offers a compelling vision of what it means to be a teacher, an indictment of the forces that compromise the practice of teaching, and a valuable account of how teaching can become a sustainable and self–fulfilling vocation.