The Role of Value in Eclectic Inquiry


  • Ryan Bevan



Educational theorists have shown increasing concern over the need to ensure that citizens exercise values that consider the relevance of contributing even contradictory perspectives. Nussbaum (2004) has concentrated specifically on the contribution that literature provides in developing the moral imagination, a concept that is linked to the idea of cosmopolitan citizenship. This article reevaluates this particular position by examining the foundational role that value plays in Schwab’s (2004) vision of eclectic inquiry. An initial value attachment to a perspective or theory is seen by incorporating examples from outside the context of curriculum deliberation as a catalyst that stimulates effective eclectic inquiry in the face of criticism or contradiction. Following the recent work of Egan (1997), I argue that these value attachments can be initiated in an educational setting not simply by integrating more art classes, but by determining and isolating the essence of a value attachment to a novel and applying this interactive framework to all areas of study. Stimulating value attachments thus serves as a precursor to eclectic inquiry and contributes more significantly to the development of the moral imagination.