Cosmopolitanism in relation to the self and the other: From Michel Foucault to Stanley Cavell

Educational Theory 60 (4):449-467 (2010)
Abstract
Educators, not to mention philosophers of education, find themselves in a difficult position nowadays. They are confronted with problems such as which kind of values one would want citizens to embrace, or to what extent social practices of a particular group may differ from what is generally held. In this essay, Paul Smeyers and Yusef Waghid focus on postmodern critiques, in particular on the position of Michel Foucault as it is relevant for the debate on cosmopolitanism. The authors argue that Foucault's analysis of the self in relation to the other is somewhat contentious, as it seems to invoke an independent ethical self other than a social self. Smeyers and Waghid claim that a more nuanced position regarding this relation can be found in the work of Stanley Cavell. They conclude that encounters with the other should not be seen as a new kind of universalism or Foucauldian subjectivism, but rather as an opening that creates opportunities both for attachment and detachments, that is, for acknowledgment and avoidance
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