Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2005 Celia Paris. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Philosophy Department

First Advisor

Richard Schuldenfrei

Second Advisor

Lisa Smulyan


The fundamental goal of political philosophy is to describe a good society. I define a good society as a just society. I take the goal of political philosophy as describing a just society and articulating how to alter an unjust society in the direction of justice. Because the fundamental goal of public education is to prepare children for participation in society, a major task of political philosophy must be to specify how students can be educated in accordance with the principles of justice. This is to say, students must be prepared to understand justice, to participate in a just society, and to work towards a more just society. Here I will attempt to theorize the demands of justice in a liberal democratic society and the implications this has for public education. I argue that if a democratic society does not acknowledge how power and culture shape people's lives and identities, it treats people unjustly; in particular, people are excluded from democratic participation. Drawing on the ideal theory of democratic participation articulated in deliberative democratic theory, I describe how people are excluded because of issues of power and culture and I argue for a more inclusive model of deliberation that could help address issues of power and culture. I argue that society can be made more inclusive and just through democratic multicultural education, which manifests inclusion, teaches about power and culture, and prepares students for democratic participation.