The Enactive Approach to Education

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 17 (2):131-141 (2010)
Abstract
If human motivation is "enactive" rather than merely a series of passive reactions to extemal stimuli, then a correspondingly "enactive" approach to education should be taken seriously. This paper argues that recent research on the emotional brain by such neuropsychologists as Jaak Panksepp, combined with a self-organizational approach to the concept of action, and the importance of the questioning process in human understanding of information, suggests that treating humanities education as intrinsically valuable, and not just as means toward other ends, is cmcially important. The questioning process that appealsto students' natural exploratory tendencies, or what Hume called a "love of truth," is fostered by an approach that, rather than dumbing down, actually appeals to the "glamour of the complex." The glamour of the complex cannot stop with interesting application of memorized information; it must go all the way down to basic epistemology and the basic questioning of human nature itself that are encouraged by taking the humanities seriously and for their own sake
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