When Teachers Must Let Education Hurt: Rousseau and Nietzsche on Compassion and the Educational Value of Suffering


Abstract
Avi Mintz has recently argued that Anglo‐American educators have a tendency to alleviate student suffering in the classroom. According to Mintz, this tendency can be detrimental because certain kinds of suffering actually enhance student learning. While Mintz compellingly describes the effects of educator's desires to alleviate suffering in students, he does not examine one of the roots of the desire: the feeling of compassion or pity. Compassion leads many teachers to unreflectively alleviate student struggles. While there are certainly times when compassion is necessary to help students learn, there are other times when it must be overcome. Compassion in the classroom is a two‐edged sword that must be carefully employed; and yet it is often assumed that it is an unequivocal good that ought to trump all other impulses. In this article I hope to raise awareness concerning the promises and pitfalls of compassion in education by examining the theories of two historical figures who famously emphasised compassion in their philosophical writings: Jean‐Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Nietzsche. Rousseau and Nietzsche argue that compassion is a powerful educational force but that it must be properly employed. For Rousseau and Nietzsche, compassion is necessary to develop self‐mastery in human beings—the ultimate goal of education—but it is a compassion that must hurt in order to help. My hope is that Rousseau's and Nietzsche's ideas on compassion will encourage thoughtful reflection on the uses and abuses of compassion in education.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jope.2010.44.issue-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,149
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Chasing Heideggerian Circles: Freedom, Call, and Our Educational Ground.Vasco D’Agnese - 2017 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 49 (10):946-956.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rousseau and the Education of Compassion.Richard White - 2008 - Philosophy of Education 42 (1):35-48.
Rousseau and the Education of Compassion.Richard White - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (1):35-48.
On the Suffering of Compassion.Peter Nilsson - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (1):125-144.
Friendship as Shared Joy in Nietzsche.Daniel I. Harris - 2015 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 19 (1):199-221.
Pity's Pathologies Portrayed.Richard Boyd - 2004 - Political Theory 32 (4):519-546.
Compassion in the Landscape of Suffering.Christina Feldman & Willem Kuyken - 2011 - Contemporary Buddhism 12 (1):143--155.
Engaging Bodhisattva Compassion in Pedagogical Aporias.Mei Hoyt - 2014 - Paideusis: Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society 21 (2):24-31.
The Virtue of Compassion: Responding to Suffering with Equanimity.Christal R. Frakes - 2004 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton
Barriers to Feeling and Actualizing Compassion.Lani Roberts - 2001 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (1):13-19.
From Intrinsic Value to Compassion.Bryan E. Bannon - 2013 - Environmental Ethics 35 (3):259-278.
Can Compassion Be Taught?G. E. Pence - 1983 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (4):189-191.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-02-17

Total views
15 ( #596,838 of 2,289,308 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #408,430 of 2,289,308 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature