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      On pliability and progress: challenging current conceptions of eighteenth-century French educational thought

      London Review of Education

      IOE Press

      PLIABILITY, PROGRESS, EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, EDUCATION, FRANCE, PHILOSOPHY

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          Abstract

          Examining the educational writings of three of the eighteenth-century's most innovative thinkers, the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, Morelly and Helvétius, this article challenges the currently accepted view that it was a belief in human pliability which gave rise to the contemporary groundbreaking faith in the power of education to improve society. The article delineates an intellectual process that culminated in the stance that man's innate behavioural tendencies are unalterable. It argues that, at least prior to Rousseau, the eighteenth-century faith in the power of education to improve society rested on a conviction that it is possible to beneficially direct man's fixed behavioural tendencies.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          10430
          London Review of Education
          IOE Press
          1474-8460
          01 July 2009
          : 7
          : 2
          : 101-112
          Article
          1474-8460(20090701)7:2L.101;1- s1.phd /ioep/clre/2009/00000007/00000002/art00001
          10.1080/14748460902990377
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          London Review of Education
          Volume 7, Issue 2

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