The Fertility of Dialogue: Levinas and Plato on Education

PhaenEx 10:13-31 (2015)
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In several places in Totality and Infinity, Levinas criticizes Socratic education for being emblematic of the totalizing tendency of Western thought. Levinas finds in Socratic maieutics another instance of the reduction of exteriority to interiority, heteronomy to autonomy, and the Other to the Same. Here, I explore Levinas’s critique and offer a possible response by arguing that maieutics does not deny the alterity of others but requires it. I find, therefore, that a Platonic conception of education as maieutics could be a promising resource for rethinking how we engage students in the classroom in a way that is consonant with Levinas’s ethics.



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Phaedrus. Plato & Harvey Yunis (eds.) - 1956 - Cambridge University Press.
Phaedrus. Plato - 1956 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 1 (3):182-183.
Four Educators in Plato's Theaetetus.Avi I. Mintz - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (4):657-673.

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