Charles Bailey

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Charles will probably be known only to older members of the Society, though he published a number of philosophical papers through the Journal of Philosophy of Education, the Journal of Moral Education and the Cambridge Journal of Education in the 1970s and 1980s His final, outstanding but pretty comprehensively neglected book was Beyond the present and the particular: A theory of a liberal education published first in 1987 and re-issued more recently in the Routledge International Library of Philosophy of Education.

Charles established philosophy of education at Homerton College Cambridge in the 1960s and, with initial support from Richard Peters, in the new B.Ed degree that Cambridge finally agreed to award. I joined him at Homerton in 1968 and was fortunate to find myself with a mentor, colleague and friend of extraordinary kindness, a remarkable teacher and an outstanding scholar - a view which was, I am sure shared by others who subsequently became part of the philosophy of education community in Homerton and in Cambridge, including Peter Scrimshaw, Peter Jackson, Patrick Heffernan, Richard Pring, Hugh Sockett, John Elliott. Terry McLaughlin, Paul Hirst, Andrew Davis, Chris Tubb, Christine Doddington and Mike Bonnet.

Charles's commitment to the principles of rationality and reason informed all aspects of his life and work. Today, rationality and reason are sometimes represented as standing in opposition to other qualities like care or compassion, but for Charles these were not stand alone intellectual qualities.

Reason commanded respect for others, care, responsibility, cooperation, fair mindedness and justice. Democracy (interpreted not as rule by the majority but the readiness to sit down together with a view to arriving at a rational way forward and to accommodate as many interests as possible) was the most rational way of ordering society, and socialism the most rational approach to the distribution of wealth and public goods and the management of the economy. But both had to be achieved not by any kind of violent overthrow of an established order, but, again, by reason and argument, by persuasion. He would be delighted to provoke discussion around such claims!

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