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Plato’s Principles in Murray’s Book Real Education Essay

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Updated: Dec 19th, 2021

Murray’s views concerning the purposes of the education expressed in the book Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality mostly coincide with the classical principles, which Plato described in Laws and The Republic. Having based the main propositions of his work on the categories of inherent abilities and education of Plato’s Philosophy, the contemporary American scientist adapted them to the present-day realities and used Plato’s ideas as axioms in his argumentation.

Criticizing the present-day situation in American education, Murray (2008) concluded that the first of the four simple truths, which he introduced in his work, concerning the varying abilities of individuals, was distorted. The author noted that it led to the disruption of the whole system of education, which does not take into consideration the extent to which the students’ abilities can vary. Plato (2005) noted that “Each person has a single talent and single way of contributing towards the welfare of the whole community; he is to perform that function, and that function alone (without interfering in the domains of others), throughout his life” (p. 22). Murray did not deny this axiom of classical Philosophy but admitted that it should be properly interpreted. Murray (2008) stated that approach based on the assertionthat everyone is good at something, and that educators can use that something to make up for other deficits (p. 29) resulted in the present state of affairs in the sphere of education.

Murray’s views, concerning the questions of the intellectual and physical work, coincided with Plato’s views as well. Plato (2008) stated that “There’s another category of worker too, consisting of people who don’t really deserve to join our community for their mental abilities, but who are physically strong enough to undertake hard labour” (p. 62). This statement may be included in general Plato’s conception of education and varying abilities. Murray (2008) stated that too many children go to college influenced by the generally accepted views on the college education but not attempting to develop their inherent abilities. The author is assured that every person has certain abilities, but not every ability can be regarded as a talent, though the educators take too much effort looking for the talents where they do not actually occur. Murray (2008) noted that Educators who proceed on the assumption that they can find some ability in which every child is above average are kidding themselves (p. 29). Thus, Murray’s work does not deny Plato’s axioms; it rather gives them a contemporary interpretation considering the problems of American education. Murray’s views upon the role of the state in education regulation are concurrent with Plato’s principles. Plato (2006) noted that “the legislator ought not to allow the education of children to become a secondary or accidental matter” (p. 130). Murray emphasized the importance of the governmental regulation of the educational objectives as well, admitting that the educators’ and learners’ attitudes to the questions of education must be changed.

Murray’s work Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality does not deny the general principles of Plato’s works, but rather interprets them due to the author’s views on the present-day situation in education. The contemporary American political scientist saw the main reasons for the educational problems in the distorted understanding of the classical axioms.

Reference List

Murray, C. (2008) Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. Crown Forum.

Plato (2006). Laws. Nu Vision Publications.

Plato (2005). The Republic. Elibron Classics Series.

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