University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 10.2.2017 KM Pasi Matikainen (Faculty of Education, Education)

Start date: Feb 10, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Feb 10, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Vanha juhlasali, S212

M.A. Pasi Matikainen defends her doctoral dissertation in Education ”Oikeudenmukaisuus sisäsyntyisinä oikeuksina ja kasvatus oikeudenmukaisuuteen dialogisen pluralismin kontekstissa. Näkökulmia ja tulkintoja Nicholas Wolterstorffin kokonaisfilosofiasta". Opponent Professor Katariina Holma (University of Jyväskylä) and custos Professor Tapio Puolimatka  (University of Jyväskylä).


The study offers a philosophical analysis of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s theory of justice and education for justice. Crucial aspects of Wolterstorff’s theory are his understanding of justice as inherent rights and justice as inherent worth. Interrelated to this are the concepts of life-goods, well-being and the good life. Within this framework of rights grounded in worth, the notions of natural human rights and human dignity occupy a special position. These notions in turn form the philosophical foundation and implications for education for justice.

The study is divided into two parts. The first part delves into the notion of justice  as inherent rights. The key aspects addressed in this section are the concept of the flourishing life as a framework for a theory of rights and rights grounded in worth rather than in duties. The main focus is on a special subset of rights, namely natural human rights, which are seen as grounded in the ineradicable dignity of human being. After a consideration of prominent existing secular grounding proposals for human dignity, it is argued that the best way to currently ground natural human rights and  human dignity is via a theistic account. The offered theistic account by Nicholas Wolterstorff sees the grounding of human dignity and natural human rights as the result of a twofold bestowal of creation and relation: being created in the image of God (imago Dei) and in the relation of being loved by God. The first part closes with remarks on practical considerations and the role the state has in the sphere of justice.

The second part of the study builds from the foundation of the first part. It considers the educational implications of Wolterstorff’s theory of justice. Centrally, it synthesizes a novel interpretation of Wolterstorff’s educational texts concerning education for justice. The result of this is a five-dimensional view of education for justice situated in the context of dialogical pluralism. This part then presents an investigation of Wolterstorff’s situated and perspectival rationality, a crucial component in understanding education for justice in general and inherent natural human rights in particular.

As a whole, the study seeks to offer moral imperatives and ideals for our conduct in the sphere of education as well as in different social settings. Furthermore, the pluralistic reality of our current societies seems to necessitate conducting education for justice in the context of dialogical pluralism and paves the way for competent and responsible shared democratic citizenship.

Keywords: justice, good life, human dignity, human rights, rationality, dialogical pluralism, indoctrination, theism