Earth Juts into World: An Earth Ethics for Ecologizing Philosophy of Education

Educational Theory 67 (4):399-415 (2017)
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Abstract

Philosophers of education often focus their critique on issues such as neoliberalism, consumerism, pluralism, and so on, and they typically turn for solutions to what we might call the political: democracy, the public, cosmopolitanism, dissent. These critiques and solutions remain firmly connected to what Heidegger calls “the world,” and this worldly analysis seemingly hovers above earthly issues of the environment and ecology. In this article, Clarence Joldersma employs Martin Heidegger's distinction between earth and world, drawing on Kelly Oliver's interpretation of it, to “ecologize” philosophy of education by arguing that that earth “juts” into the world. Philosophy of education needs a Derridean supplement, something that makes up for a lack, but that, in filling the lack, simultaneously supplants it. Joldersma invites philosophy of education to supplement its worldly principles with an “earth ethics” that is characterized by three features. First, this ethics lets the earth and earthlings be, recognizing their continuing mystery as beings. Second, it acknowledges gratefulness toward the earth, an indebtedness to the earth for the reliable support it provides to our worldly projects and concerns. Third, it recognizes earth's fundamental fragility, that its seeming worldly dependability conceals an earthly vulnerability. Joldersma concludes that these three features, in tandem, give rise to an earthly ethics of responsibility. Philosophy of education needs an earth ethics to supplement, if not supplant, its worldly principles.

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