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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The idea of equality and its bearing on education. Bynoe, Jacob Galton

Abstract

Racial and political struggles throughout the world today seem to be partly an expression of the pressing demand for human equality, and suggest that the idea of equality needs urgent examination. The writer attempts, through a study of relevant, selected material, to arrive at some meaningful interpretation of this idea of equality, then examines the bearing of the idea on education. The first chapter of the paper analyses four theories which state some particular respect in which men are held to be equal. All the examined propositions asserting the equality of men are found to be either indefensible or meaningless. The second chapter studies W. T. Stace's argument that men are of equal worth, and the conclusion is reached that equality can be meaningfully interpreted only as an ideal. A significant element in struggles for the realization of the ideal of equality is found to lie in the demand that persons similarly situated should be similarly treated and that any discrimination should be based on relevant differences. It is also contended that the economic, legal, political and educational aspects of the problem of equality are inextricably interwoven. The third and the fourth chapters are specially devoted to a study of the relevance of the ideal of equality to the educational process. It is argued that the school has an indispensable part to play in the struggle for equality. The general conclusion of the thesis is that the idea of equality is a dynamic one needing continual reinterpretation, not in isolation, but in conjunction with other social ideals such as liberty and altruism; nowhere is this constant re-examination more necessary than in the field of education.

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