Buber from the Cartesian Perspective? A Critical Review of Reading Buber’s Pedagogy

Studies in Philosophy and Education 31 (6):569-585 (2012)
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Abstract

The positive reception of Buber’s philosophy does not fully match Buber’s intention in terms of overcoming the problem of the subject–object binary. In other words, a number of authors have remained within the traditional way of thinking by merely replacing the subject and object with Buber’s I and You, establishing a more dogmatic normative subjectivity, paradoxically going against Buber’s intent and even seemingly not noticing this problem. In this article, we will investigate the reasons for these paradoxical readings of Buber. By focusing on the structure and significance of Buber’s ontology of between-humane, we will study the concept of I–You and I–It, suggesting that these are not intentionality-oriented concepts, but a radically relationship-centered one. The theoretical problem caused by Buber himself in the process of adaptation of his dialog-philosophy to his dialog-pedagogy, namely the impossibility of complete mutuality in the educational relationship will be critically examined, based on Buber’s own declaration in his “Afterword” (1957) in I and Thou (1923). With this, we will reflect on the problematic situation of post-Buberian literature in contemporary pedagogy to pave a way to modernize Buber’s dialog-pedagogy

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