There is a s tandard view of education which is (or was until recently) enshrined in many of the educational practices and institutions of most western countr ies , as well as of countries influenced by the west . I do not wish to identify this view with any particular wri ter , because its assumptions are so widely held that many would take them almost for gran ted . Moreover, what I am interested in at this point is not elaborating a comprehensive theory of education so much as identifying a set of extremely influential assumptions. These assumptions have been attacked vehemently by their cr i t ics , while on the whole they have been unreflectively accepted by their s u p - p o r t e r s , so it is r ight to see how they might be defended against criticism. For the sake of brevi ty and simplicity, I shall refer to these assumptions under the title of liberal education, but nothing hangs on my use of this descript ion, nor on whether other people think of liberal education in different ways.