Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (5):527-544 (2014)

Johan Dahlbeck
Malmö University
In this article I will investigate a perceived tension in Swedish early childhood education (ECE) policy between reevaluating certain foundational claims on the one hand and following universal moral commands on the other. I ask the question; how is it that certain commonly held assumptions are being debunked and others left undisturbed in this particular context? To this end, I look at some of the preconditions of framing the educational practice by universal moral commands so as to make visible some of its underlying ontological assumptions. Correspondingly, I look at some necessary epistemological and ontological prerequisites for understanding knowledge formation as essentially relational, such as it is construed in the policy documents concerned. I connect this with a broader trend in educational philosophy and theory, one where the destabilizing of a Cartesian notion of subjectivity has opened up for more relational conceptions of subjectivity. Next, I will take a closer look at some key passages from the policy documents where the appeal to moral universalism runs parallel with an appeal to a relational ontology. Having done so, I point to some epistemological problems with combining these two conflicting approaches on a policy level. To conclude, I formulate some final thoughts regarding how one might begin to resolve this tension within the discourse of Swedish ECE by coming to terms with what kind of ontological and epistemological foundation to rely upon. I do this by trying out the notion of a pedagogy of dosage
Keywords Early childhood education  Policy  Moral universalism  Relational ontology
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-013-9402-3
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Spinoza's 'Ethics': An Introduction.Steven Nadler - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.

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