Philosophy of Education and the Gigantic Affront of Universalism

Philosophy of Education 43 (1):1-2 (2009)

Abstract
Universalism in philosophy, argue Penny Enslin and Mary Tjiattas, tends to be regarded as an affront to particular affiliations, an act of injustice by misrecognition. While agreeing with criticisms of some expressions of universalism, they take the view that anti-universalism has become an orthodoxy that deflects attention from pressing issues of global injustice in education. In different ways, recent reformulations of universalism accommodate particularity and claims for recognition. Defending a qualified universalism, they argue, through a discussion of the Education for All campaign, that the present focus on recognition should be widened to address redistribution and representation as elements of global justice in education.In her response to Enslin and Tjiattas, Sharon Todd expresses sympathy for their aspiration towards a ‘qualified universalism’, but she seeks to go beyond the dichotomy of universalism versus anti-universalism by way of a discussion of aspects of the work of Judith Butler. Butler's emphasis on cultural translation offers a way, it is claimed, to think about the universal that transcends the oppositional relation between culture and commitment to universals. In the light of this she advocates an approach that involves neither universalism nor anti-universalism but ‘critique of universality’. Thus, the task of translation, on Butler's account, prevents universality from being a standard or home-base from which we can judge the world and turns it instead into an ongoing struggle for intelligibility.In their rejoinder, Enslin and Tjiattas reject any charge that their own account has fallen into a simple dichotomisation of universalism and anti-universalism, and reaffirm their commitment to a form of universalism in which partial or contextual considerations count in ethical deliberations, and values and principles are subject to reflexive renegotiation in democratic deliberations, which provides the means of their justification and the source of their legitimacy. This yields, they claim, a non-standard form of contractualism that is both culturally sensitive and open-ended. They suggest in conclusion that the debate between themselves and Todd raises questions about whether the analytical and continental traditions can concede one another's place in the philosophy of education.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2009.00664.x
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The ‘Cosmopolitan’ Self Does Her Homework.Marianna Papastephanou - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (4):597-612.
Getting the Measure of Measurement: Global Educational Opportunity.Penny Enslin & Mary Tjiattas - 2017 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 49 (4):347-361.

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