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Rationality and Its Cultivation

Over the millennia, a great many philosophers and educational theorists have asserted that what marks humans off from the rest of the animal kingdom is the fact that we are rational animals. Along with this, many have also recognized that the rational propensities we evidently are all born with are not sufficient for the life we will (or should?) live as adults, which inexorably has led to the view that a fundamental aim of education is the fostering of this rationality. But of course, there are further complications: Dog owners everywhere will claim that their particular Fido is also a rational animal or, at the very least, that he certainly can think—the implications being, first, that we humans are not quite as special as we ...

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