Educational Philosophy and Theory 53 (6):568-577 (2020)

Pedro Tabensky
Rhodes University
On the one hand, according to Richard Rorty, Paulo Freire and others, education is the practice of freedom. On the other hand, according to Michael Foucault, Mary Midgley and others, ethics is the practice of freedom. How, then, are education and ethics related to one another and what do these authors mean by ‘the practice of freedom’? In this piece, I argue that education and ethics are two mutually constitutive aspects of the practice of freedom. Individuals who are able to engage in this practice can most properly be said to be the authors of their lives, that is, individuals who, to borrow from Neil MacGregor, are able to find their ‘place in things’. To find our ‘place in things’ is to do the necessary educative work required for becoming the authors of our lives, that is, for self-actualization. To take on the authorial role is, moreover, to be able effectively to take control of our lives, to organize them into unities for which we are individually responsible. This, according to Midgley, is precisely what it is to be ethical. This work, moreover, requires ongoing development, that is, education, in Dewey’s sense. I further argue that professional education and skills training cannot be understood properly in isolation from these broader educational aims and I criticize mainstream educational practices for not paying sufficient attention to the intimate relationship between the vocational and non-vocational aspects of education.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2020.1791822
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Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Civilization and its Discontents.Sigmund Freud - 1952/1930 - In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Education. Belmont, Calif., Wadsworth Pub. Co..

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