A Disquieting Moral Reality: The Responsibility of the Modern American University In The Moral Formation of Their Students Under Late-Stage Capitalism As Analyzed Through The Work Of Alasdair MacIntyre and Michel Foucault
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This thesis seeks to analyze the role and responsibility of the modern American university in the moral development of their students within late-stage capitalist structures. The transformation of higher education into corporate privatized businesses and the zeitgeist of American consumerism produces the students-as-customer model (SAC-model) that leads to education being perceived as a product rather than an opportunity for personal formation and vocational knowledge. The SAC model of operation has damaged the integrity of higher education institutions as locations of genuine, transformational education and moral formation. This consumerist reorganization led to widespread moral disparity and emotivism. Where do we proceed from here? Is there hope for reengaging the university as a place of moral formation for the sake of better citizens? I also seek an answer to these secondary questions by engaging the works of philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre and Michel Foucault particularly turning towards MacIntyre’s After Virtue and Foucault’s later works which focus on the care of the self, the creating of moral systems, and the use of pleasure. The work of MacIntyre focuses upon community while the work of Foucault looks at the subject (self) as it exists within a community. The work of Foucault and MacIntyre put in conversation allows me to analyze the problem at hand and to synthesize a model of student-teacher relationships that seek to instill a practice of moral formation within the modern university.