Studies in Philosophy and Education 32 (5):463-475 (2013)

Abstract
In today’s world we appear to place a premium on happiness. Happiness is often portrayed, directly or indirectly, as one of the key aims of education. To suggest that education is concerned with promoting unhappiness or even despair would, in many contexts, seem outlandish. This paper challenges these widely held views. Focusing on the work of the great Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, I argue that despair, the origins of which lie in our reflective consciousness, is a defining feature of human life. Education, I maintain, should not be seen as a flight from despair but as a process of deepening our understanding of suffering and its potentially pivotal role in our humanisation. In developing these ideas, I draw on Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and Unamuno’s The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations, among other sources
Keywords Existentialism  Despair  Happiness  Consciousness  Dostoevsky  Kierkegaard  Unamuno
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-012-9325-4
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References found in this work BETA

Pedagogy of the Oppressed.Paulo Freire - 2008 - In David J. Flinders & Stephen J. Thornton (eds.), The Curriculum Studies Reader. Routledge.
The Sickness Unto Death.Søen Kierkegaard & Walter Lowrie - 1941 - Princeton University Press.
Concluding Unscientific Postscript.Søen Kierkegaard & Walter Lowrie - 1941 - Princeton University Press for American-Scandinavian Foundation.

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Citations of this work BETA

Education and the Face of the Other: Levinas, Camus and (Mis)Understanding.Peter Roberts - 2013 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 45 (11):1133-1149.
Emotional Speech Acts and the Educational Perlocutions of Speech.Renia Gasparatou - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (3):319-331.
Why Bother Teaching? Despairing the Ethical Through Teaching That Does Not Follow.F. Carusi - 2017 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 36 (6):633-645.
Should Contentment Be a Key Aim in Higher Education?Paul Gibbs - 2017 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 49 (3):242-252.

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