The Importance of Contrary Forces in Education: On the Notion of Conflict in Tagore’s Religion of Man

Studies in Philosophy and Education 43 (3):243-268 (2024)
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Dealing with conflicts seems to be a great challenge in society today. But not only in society. Higher education displays an air of resoluteness with certainty and security that disguises the conflicts and the fear of conflicts in a substantial number of subjects. If not in a state of denial, higher education avoids taking up conflicts over issues, for learning. The detailed investigation of Tagore’s pedagogical writings, with a focus on the importance of conflicts in education, reveals a genuine embrace of conflicts for education. Conflicts are natural and necessary for the development and change of both the individual and society and the start of a ‘creative imagination’ to solve the problems we face in life. Contradictions in conflicts are not incompatible incongruities that are irreconcilable and mutually exclusive, but to the contrary, in need of each other. Contradictions do not represent different worlds but are substantial parts of one world: together they form a unity. Conflicting forces are necessary to create harmony. Creativity, imagination, love, art, and critical encounters are key elements in Tagore’s practical education aimed at finding similarities among people instead of emphasizing differences. Relations between people over the Identity of people. In other words, we need conflicts to become creative and imaginative human beings. The paper continues discussing conceptual and practical issues that seem necessary to get the teaching of conflicts in education off the ground. On the conceptual level, in particular our dealing with uncertainty and fear, the valuation of conflict and the need for uncertainty-researching education. On a practical level, I propose a certain teaching model, a supportive curriculum, a way of choosing genuine conflicts for education and finally, I argue for specific support and education of teachers, acknowledging the vital role teachers play in delivering the education that we need.



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On Compromise and Rotten Compromises.Avishai Margalit - 2009 - Princeton University Press.
The future of critical pedagogy.Peter Mclaren - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 52 (12):1243-1248.
Rabindranath Tagore on a comparative methodology of religions.Asha Mukherjee - 2014 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 4 (1):69-80.

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