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Education, English

The Encyclopedia Of Education And Political Authority


An encyclopedia ought to provide precise and comprehensive information on the subject, words, or terms it explains. Diderot and D’Alembert’s ‘The Encyclopedie’ contains information from a variety of contributors between 1751 and 1772. With large work, the encyclopedia has a significant impact as it diverts its leaders to see things from another perspective rather than the conventional notation. This analysis uses two terms from the encyclopedia, education and political authority, to compare them with how other scholars define the same terms and make a judgment on who is right.

Definition of Education

The encyclopedia defines education as the care given to the children regarding feeding, instructing, and raising the child. This definition confuses education with parenting. Diderot and D’Alembert describe education as “…of feeding, bringing up and instructing children” (Puncher, Martin, et al. 116). Secondly, the definition does not recognize education as a continuous, reliable process. An encyclopedia should guide the learner in getting a deep understanding of the issue it is addressing. The information gathered in this useful collection should, therefore, enable the reader to get a clear mental picture of the issue at hand.

Regardless of the expertly of the audience, he should understand the meaning of the terms without questioning them. On the other hand, education is a continuous learning experience through which the individual undergoes “…inherent and permanent change in the way people perceive, think and respond to the situation.” (ACS Distance Education par 2) Despite the two definitions agreeing that it takes time to be educated, the omissions in the early leave the audience worried about whether education has a time limit or whether there are times when one cannot be educated. This evidence makes the collection more ambiguous rather than reflecting what is acceptable.

Definition of Political Authority

Another term with a whelming explanation but still raising an eyebrow in this encyclopedia is Political authority. Diderot and D’Alembert describe political authority as the power that is acquired by violence or consent of the one willing to be ruled on a contractual basis rather than being the power of nature (Scott 34). The encyclopedia denies the reasoning that political authority can be due to nature but insists that the subject contracts the person in authority and consents to the situation either willingly or by the fact that he cannot resist at that time.

Contrary to this standpoint, Central European University describes political authority as the states “… claim to rule the within the demarcated geographical boundaries with a right to be obeyed with almost all subjects, occasion, and directive”(Central European University par 1). The following definition assumes that nature has power in awarding the government this power. The editors and contributors have not done enough to remove the ambiguities, as demonstrated in the reading. The encyclopedia is, therefore, making an assumption that does not agree with other scholars, as shown above.


In conclusion, despite the encyclopedia being a source of extensive knowledge and a good source of information, some definitions and explanations here lack clarity. As the oldest encyclopedia, there is a need for revision. The definitions and explanations herein must be in harmony with what other scholars agree. An increase in usage, acceptance, and authority is likely to be shot in case the necessary amendments are made. Despite the fact that many users might not see those errors, revision, and editing of such a resourceful compilation to reflect the factual information that it seeks to address is a necessity.

Works Cited

ACS Distance Education. “What is Education, Definition of Education, and Education Explained?” ACS Distance Education. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.

Central European University- School of Public Policy. “Advanced Political Philosophy I: Political Authority and Obligation.” School of Public Policy. N.p., n.d. Web, Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.

Puncher, Martin, et al., The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd ed. New York: Norton Publishers, 2012:114-127 print.

Scott, Peter Manley. “Anarchy in the UK? GM Crops, Political Authority and the Rioting of God.” Ecotheology: Journal of Religion, Nature & the Environment, vol. 11, no. 1, Mar. 2006, pp. 32-56. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1558/ecot.2006.11.1.32c



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