‘Current men’ and contemporary ethical education

Vikki Pollard
PhD Candidate
Faculty of Education
Monash University
Melbourne, Australia

In 1872, as Professor of Classical Philology at Bale University, Friedrich Nietzsche presented a series of five lectures titled “On the future of our educational institutions”. Presented as a report of a conversation Nietzsche overheard as a young man, these lectures pose questions which remain remarkably applicable for modern education. In the first lecture one of the characters, an ex-teacher and philosopher, argues that the educational system is purely utilitarian and aims to produce ‘current men’. What did he mean by ‘current men’? The aim of this paper is to explore this question in relation to contemporary educational theory. How is the aim of producing ‘current men’ critiqued in modern educational literature? What can Nietzsche’s critique teach educationalists about an ethical education? I will be arguing that an ethical education is one that enables creativity and resistance.

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