Child rearing: Passivity and being able to go on. Wittgenstein on shared practices and seeing aspects

Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (5):638-651 (2008)
It is not uncommon to hear parents say in discussions they have with their children 'Look at it this way'. And called upon for their advice, counsellors too say something to adults with the significance of 'Try to see it like this'. The change of someone's perspective in the context of child rearing is the focus of this paper. Our interest in this lies not so much in giving an answer to the practical problems that are at stake, but at disentangling the issues on a conceptual level. Within the so-called second part of his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein deals with shared practices and with concepts such as 'seeing' and 'seeing as'. What he says there is in terms of content linked with his earlier Tractatus position concerning ethics, a matter which will first be dealt with. After that, the relevant sections of his later work are discussed. Following Cavell, it is concluded that to try to get someone to see what one sees, necessarily presupposes giving it out of one's hands. The passivity this points at highlights what Erziehung in the end comes down to.
Keywords giving reasons  Cavell  Tractatus  passivity  Wittgenstein  child rearing  seeing as
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