Martin Heidegger is, perhaps, the most controversial philosopher of the twentieth-century. Little has been written on him or about his work and its significance for educational thought. This unique collection by a group of international scholars reexamines Heidegger's work and its legacy for educational thought.
In the modern day, it is understood that the role of the teacher comprises aspects of therapy directed towards the child. But to what extent should this relationship be developed, and what are its concomitant responsibilities? This book offers a challenging philosophical approach to the inherent problems and tensions involved with these issues.
A broad-scale quantification of the measure of quality for scholarship is under way. This trend has fundamental implications for the future of academic publishing and employment. In this essay we want to raise questions about these burgeoning practices, particularly how they affect philosophy of education and similar sub-disciplines. First, details are given of how an ‘impact factor’ is calculated. The various meanings that can be attached to it are scrutinised. Second, we examine how impact factors are used to make various (...) ‘high stakes’ academic decisions, such as hiring and promotion, funding of research projects and how much money is to be awarded to a particular area. By focusing on a particular practice, problems with the application of the metric generally are outlined. Finally, we offer some general observations about the unintended consequences and other problems arising from the widespread use of this metric, including attempts to ‘game the system’. We argue that the use of impact factors increasingly shapes the kind of topics and issues scholars write on, their choices of methodology, and their choice of publication venues for their work. Technical measures and mechanisms tend to ‘colonise’ the qualitative and professional judgments that must also be part of the process of evaluation, and for which bibliometrics alone cannot offer a substitute. (shrink)
In many countries publications in Web of Knowledge journals are dominant in the evaluation of educational research. For various purposes comparisons are made between the output of philosophers of education in these journals and the publications of their colleagues in educational research generally, sometimes also including psychologists and/or social scientists. Taking its starting-point from Hayden’s article in this journal , this paper discusses the situation of educational research in three countries: The Netherlands, South Africa and Norway. In this paper an (...) alternative for comparing research output is offered by invoking comparisons with colleagues at the international level from within the same sub-discipline. It is argued that if one would do so a different picture would emerge, even if one were to limit oneself to particular kinds of publications. The case is then made that if comparisons are regarded as a necessary part of the evaluation of an individual scholar , it would be more fair to use a proxy system which is sub-discipline specific, or minimally contains some kind of correction factor in relation to the over-all quality assessment device. Debates about the relevance or irrelevance of philosophy of education in the context of educational sciences are now obscured, even poisoned by focusing almost exclusively on a particular kind of publication output. As the ‘reward’ system that is developed accordingly is possibly the most important driver of educational research, it puts the sub-discipline unduly under pressure to the extent that it possibly cannot survive. (shrink)
Due to a number of radical changes in society, the role of parents in the upbringing of their children has been redefined. In this essay, Paul Smeyers argues that “risk” thinking, and the technologization that goes with it in the context of child rearing, naturally leads to the rights discourse, but that thinking about the relation between parents and children in terms of rights confronts one with a number of insurmountable problems. The concept of the “best interests of a child” (...) that is often invoked is, to say the least, not at all clear. Smeyers contends that while the discourse of rights is clearly important and relevant insofar as the relation between parents and the state are discussed, it impoverishes our understanding of relations of family members when used as an all‐inclusive framework in that context. Therefore, he concludes that we must surpass the totalizing tendency of the transformation of the social realm into a system, of defining the relation between parents and children in technical terms, and of holding parents liable for their children's upbringing. (shrink)
Time, space, causality, communicating and acting together set limits on our freedom. Starting from the position of Wittgenstein, who advocates neither a position of pure subjectivity nor of pure objectivity, and taking into account what is implied by initiation into the symbolic order of language and culture, it is argued that the limitations on our freedom are not to be deplored. The problems of conservatism, relativism and scepticism—which confront us often in the context of education and child rearing—are inadequately dealt (...) with if attention is primarily focused on ways to resist or act differently. Following Cavell and his insistence that we should not try to escape from the existential conditions we find ourselves in and look for false certainties, the relevance of embracing a particular stance is elaborated. A commitment to giving substance to an ideal of ‘the good life’ is neither an injustice towards the other nor an ignorance of her freedom. On the contrary, here responsibility is accepted, and at the same time it is acknowledged that we always have only the particular points of departure that we contingently start from. Coming to terms with this kind of dependency constitutes living out the scepticism that is implied by our being human: the logic of this is given along with our human condition. (shrink)
Educators, not to mention philosophers of education, find themselves in a difficult position nowadays. They are confronted with problems such as which kind of values one would want citizens to embrace, or to what extent social practices of a particular group may differ from what is generally held. In this essay, Paul Smeyers and Yusef Waghid focus on postmodern critiques, in particular on the position of Michel Foucault as it is relevant for the debate on cosmopolitanism. The authors argue that (...) Foucault's analysis of the self in relation to the other is somewhat contentious, as it seems to invoke an independent ethical self other than a social self. Smeyers and Waghid claim that a more nuanced position regarding this relation can be found in the work of Stanley Cavell. They conclude that encounters with the other should not be seen as a new kind of universalism or Foucauldian subjectivism, but rather as an opening that creates opportunities both for attachment and detachments, that is, for acknowledgment and avoidance. (shrink)
In this article we argue that ubuntu (human interdependence) is not some form of essentialist notion that unfolds in exactly the same way as some critics of ubuntu might want to suggest. Rather, we offer a philosophical position that (re)considers the situation of the self in relation to others. The article starts from the general issues at stake in the debate concerning particularity and universalist ethics. We then reconsider the general position of the ethics of care, and particularly how it (...) has recently been revisited by Michael Slote. Following this, ubuntu is characterised as a particular kind of ethic of care. With this in mind, what we shall put forward is an extension of Seyla Benhabib's (2006) view that the self and others should iteratively and hospitably engage in deliberation. Although we agree with Benhabib that iterations (as arguing over and over again and talking back) are worthwhile in themselves, considering ubuntu (‘a person becoming a person in relation with other persons’), we find Stanley Cavell's (1979) idea of ‘living with skepticism’—particularly, acknowledging humanity in the Other and oneself—as more apposite to extend the theoretical premises of ubuntu. Although the practice of ubuntu is lived out differently amongst Africa's people, we want to add to the diverse ways in which ubuntu can both disrupt and offer ways as to how challenges of human conflict and violence can possibly be resolved. The article finally addresses a couple of educational examples and argues that this approach, by being well-grounded in the life experience of learners, can critically assist the central role of education. (shrink)
This paper attempts to take seriously the claim that we can look for causes in order to understand the reality we live (in), and focuses therefore primarily on 'the natural world'. It will be argued that even if we were to fully endorse the programme of looking for antecedents, a dominant driver for many educational researchers, this would still not solve the problems they commonly set out to address. It will illustrate the problem of contextualisation in using an example of (...) educational research that uses the methodology of the randomised field trial. In these kind of studies the paradigm of causality and its experimental laboratory approach is modified to incorporate the exigencies of real life situations. The claim that these studies too do not put one in a position to derive straightforward conclusions for policy makers or more generally for educational practitioners will be substantiated. Finally, some concluding remarks will be offered that indicate what may be expected from large-scale population studies and what their epistemological basis is. (shrink)
Psychology has penetrated many domains of society and its vocabulary and discourse has become part of our everyday conversations. It not only carries with it the promise that it will deliver insights into human behaviour, but it is also believed that it can address many of the problems human beings are confronted with. As a discipline it thrives in the present climate of performativity, where more attention is given to means than to ends. The article observes first that for education (...) and thus for educational research, though psychology's approach can be valuable, other theoretical stances are also necessary. It then analyses why psychology may be attractive nowadays in the educational field and identifies its prestige in academia, partly arising from its professionalization, but above all the use of a particular method and the focus on certain contents. This has historical antecedents, and so some illustrations are given of previous developments, paying attention as well to the controversies in which educational psychology has been involved in the past, as well as to the need of biographical research, which warns us to be careful with generalizations. It is argued that a more balanced approach (invoking the particularities of the situation as well as a broader concept of practical rationality) is required for the study of education and that educational researchers therefore should resist the tendency to see psychology as the default auxiliary science of education; instead they should reclaim their territory, do justice to the responsibility that is required and highlight the importance of understanding social practices to a large extent in terms of reasons and intentions. (shrink)
Is the youth culture, or more precisely aparticular kind of it, to be characterized as nihilistic ? And is this a threat or ablessing for education? To deal with this nihilism is first characterized generally andfollowing particular attention is paid toNietzsche's own version and revaluation ofvalues. Then Foucault's concept of life as awork of art is brought to the forefront as aparticular manner to give shape to one's life.It is argued that some of the more popularforms of pleasure nowadays may (...) contrarily towhat is generally believed, be reminiscent of arevaluation thus to overcome nihilism.Implications for education include for theeducator to realize the unavoidability to offerherself as who she is, furthermore to be fullyaware of the fact that many boundaries in theeducational process are arbitrary, and last butnot least the acceptance of the need to createthe room for the child to develop an image ofherself which she can live with. (shrink)
Time, space, causality, communicating and acting together set limits on our freedom. Starting from the position of Wittgenstein, who advocates neither a position of pure subjectivity nor of pure objectivity, and taking into account what is implied by initiation into the symbolic order of language and culture, it is argued that the limitations on our freedom are not to be deplored. The problems of conservatism, relativism and scepticismwhich confront us often in the context of education and child rearingare inadequately dealt (...) with if attention is primarily focused on ways to resist or act differently. Following Cavell and his insistence that we should not try to escape from the existential conditions we find ourselves in and look for false certainties, the relevance of embracing a particular stance is elaborated. A commitment to giving substance to an ideal of the good life is neither an injustice towards the other nor an ignorance of her freedom. On the contrary, here responsibility is accepted, and at the same time it is acknowledged that we always have only the particular points of departure that we contingently start from. Coming to terms with this kind of dependency constitutes living out the scepticism that is implied by our being human: the logic of this is given along with our human condition. (shrink)
After the moral framework of sustainable development, the focus on climate change appears to take a lead in the practice and theory of environmental education. Inherent in this perspective is an apocalyptic message: if we do not rapidly change our use of energy resources, we will severely harm the life conditions of our children and grandchildren. In this article we argue that environmental educators should liberate us from this highly instrumental dictate by taking their cue from our daily care for (...) our environment as revealed in child?s play in nature. Inherent in the interaction of the Homo ludens with nature is a spiral time experience. This time condition elicits a particular responsibility: rather than calculating which means are necessary to prevent future disasters, we should respond with care to the concentric circles of an open and indefinite future. Therefore, environmental education should not aim to prevent future disasters, but foster anticipating care for nature. (shrink)
This paper deals with the highly personal way an individual makes sense of the world in a way that avoids the pitfalls of the so‐called private language. For Wittgenstein following a rule can never mean just following another rule, though we do follow rules blindly. His idea of the ‘form of life’ elicits that ‘what we do’ refers to what we have learnt, to the way in which we have learnt it and to how we have grown to find it (...) self‐evident. But the reference to the ‘bedrock’, to what was originally learnt, is the only kind of situation for which it makes sense to ask whether the meaning of a concept is correctly stated. Dialogue, conversation, and exchange of ideas are the right ways to characterize all the other situations. The challenge of Wittgensteinian philosophy is therefore that of a balance of the individual and the community, of language and the world. His insistence on the third person is countered by the importance he gives to each individual's personal stance: persons must speak for themselves and do what they can do. Given the growing interest for the kind of educational research where the ‘personal’ is focused on, I will try to take up the challenge to see how here as elsewhere ‘language’ works. By making clear what it does for us, it will gradually become clear how this kind of research may itself have to be reinterpreted. (shrink)
For Kant, education was understood as the 'means' to become human—and that is to say, rational. For Rousseau by contrast, and the many child-centred educators that followed him, the adult world, far from representing reason, is essentially corrupt and given over to the superficialities of worldly vanity. On this view, the child, as a product of nature, is essentially good and will learn all she needs to know from experience. Both positions have their own problems, but beyond this 'internal debate', (...) the change in the content of education (i.e. child-rearing and schooling) is now furthermore due to a radical pluralism that has swept the world. Moreover, there may be differences in value between individual parents and between values held within the family and those held in society at large. Among other reasons this has put more generally children's (and parents') 'rights' on the agenda, which differs from thinking of education in terms of a 'practice'. The paper develops this latter concept and the criticisms to which it has been subject and argues that there is no necessary incompatibility between initiation into an existing practice and transforming that practice in some way, if it is emphasized how practices are learned and enacted. It then turns to the tendency in education and child-rearing, as in other spheres of human interaction, for more laws and codes of conduct and to call upon experts for all kind of matters. It argues that performativity rules on the level of the practitioner, of the experts, and even on the level of educational research. It argues that many governments have adopted in matters of schooling the language of output and school effectiveness and that something similar is now bound to happen in the sphere of child-rearing (with talk of parenting skills and courses). This is made credible due to a particular model of educational research, i.e. an empiricist quasi-causal model of explaining human behaviour. The paper then discusses the problems with this stance and argues that we should part company from the entrepreneurial manipulative educator to open up a sphere of responsiveness for the child and that for these reasons, the concept of the 'practice of child-rearing' should be revisited. Insisting on the complexities that have to be taken into account and thus surpassing a discourse of effectiveness and output as well as of codes of conduct and rulings of courts of law, may help us to focus on what is really at stake: to lead a meaningful life, to be initiated into what is 'real for us' and what we value. It concludes that thus restoring a place for child-rearing as a practice will do justice to the responsiveness to which each child is entitled. (shrink)
This collection of essays focuses on the work of James D. Marshall, who has been active in the philosophy of education for three decades. Deals with Marshall’s long-standing criticism of the public education system in New Zealand Discusses his work considering the relevance of Wittgenstein and Foucault for philosophy of education. Features tributes to Marshall in the form of interviews and testimonials. Contains remarks from Marshall himself in response to the commentaries of his colleagues.
Owing to the growing internationalisation of research, educational researchers in the Netherlands are increasingly expected to publish through the medium of the English language. Though this undoubtedly benefits the communication between scholars, there are also side-effects. This paper discusses problematic issues from three perspectives: (i) the use of a non-native language for communication between scholars in the area of education; (ii) the use either exclusively, or not, of a publication record of such publications for purposes of recruitment and promotion of (...) staff; (iii) the relationships between research groups of different disciplines and/or universities. It will be argued that the demand to publish exclusively in a non-native language has damaging effects as far as the context of education is concerned. Not only will it lead to a denial of one's own background and culture, but the uniformisation, (which is the result of it), will also stifle the rich educational landscape by allowing the publication only of items of international interest. The model of the natural sciences is not adequate for the context of education because of the necessarily more local character of the content of educational problems and production of strategies to deal with these. Thus it will become clear that the integrity of the educational researcher is at stake as the research area is selected. (shrink)
Sceptics of an Africanisation of education have often lambasted its proponents for re-inventing something that has very little, if any, role to play in contemporary African society. The contributors to this issue hold a different view and, through the papers included in this issue, arguments are proffered in defence of an Africanisation of education on the African continent, particularly through the notion of ubuntu.Since the 1960s, Africana philosophy as an instance of Africanisation has emerged as a ‘gathering’ notion for philosophical (...) endeavours practised by professional philosophers and intellectuals, either of African descent, including those living in the diaspora, or those of non-African descent but who are devoted to matters pertaining to African and African-descended individuals and communities (Outlaw, 2004, p. 90). These philosophical endeavours mostly relate to a ‘critical analysis and reflective evaluation of the evidence and reasoning’ that constitute the beliefs, customs, values, traditions, oral literature (parables, proverbs, poetry, songs and myth), languages and histories of African and African-descended peoples (Hallen, 2004, p. 105). The articles presented at this symposium analytically explore ideas and practices central to Africana philosophy, their underlying rationales, and how these forms of philosophical inquiry can potentially engender defensible educative relationships. (shrink)