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.
Having acknowledged the recurrent theme of education in Stanley Cavell's work, the discussion addresses the topic of scepticism, especially as this emerges in the interpretation of Wittgenstein. Questions concerning rule‐following, language and society are then turned towards political philosophy, specifically with regard to John Rawls. The discussion examines the idea of the social contract, the nature of moral reasoning and the possibility of our lives' being above reproach, as well as Rawls's criticisms of Nietzschean perfectionism. This lays the way for (...) the broaching of questions of race and America. The theme of the ordinary, which emerges variously in Cavell's reflections on Emerson, Wittgenstein and Austin, is taken up and extended into a consideration of Thoreau's ‘experiment in living’. The conversation closes with brief remarks about happiness. (shrink)
Following Lyotard's death in 1998, this book provides an exploration of the recurrent theme of education in his work. It brings to a wider audience the significance of a body of thought about education that is subtle, profound and still largely unexplored. This book also makes an important contribution to contemporary debates on postmodernism and education.
This paper examines sections of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations with a view to exposing trail‐effects of psychology in educational and social practice today. These are seen in understandings of the relations between mind and body, and language and thought, and their influence is identified in such contemporary preoccupations as accounting transparency and the new science of happiness. A Wittgensteinian critique is offered, with attention paid to the idea that ‘nothing is hidden’. Finally a question is raised as to how far it (...) is the imperviousness of these practices to criticism that is the key to understanding them. (shrink)
Thoreau’s Walden is a text that has been misinterpreted in various ways, one consequence of which is a failure to appreciate its significance as a perfectionist and visionary text for education. This paper explores aspects of what might be called its teaching, especially via the kind of teaching that is offered by Stanley Cavell’s commentary, The Senses of Walden. Walden is considered especially in the light of its conception of language as the “father-tongue” and of the ideas of continual rebirth (...) and departure that are associated with this. References to teaching and learning abound in the book, but it is Thoreau’s specific reference to the need for “uncommon schools” that provides a focus for the present discussion. (shrink)
This book takes Stanley Cavell's much-quoted, yet enigmatic phrase as the provocation for a series of explorations into themes of education that run throughout his work - through his response to Wittgenstein, Austin and ordinary language ...
On the strength of a clarification of the nature of philosophy of education, a critical overview is offered of Wittgenstein's impact on the field. The focus then narrows to give attention to Wittgenstein's claim that “Nothing is hidden”, pitched here in a questionable relation to contemporary concerns with transparency. Familiar readings of this passage are challenged in connection with Wittgenstein's late writings on psychology, especially with regard to imagination and pretence. These are argued to be essential to the development of (...) mind and world, from the child's first entry into language, and hence crucial to education. (shrink)
What is the place of philosophy in the study of education? What is its significance for policy and practice? This paper begins by considering the policy and institutional context of the philosophy of education in the UK and by tracing its recent history. It examines both the place of philosophy in Education (as a field of study) and the status and character of the philosophy of education in relation to the 'parent' discipline of philosophy. Rival accounts of the nature of (...) the philosophy of education are outlined, in such a way as to acknowledge the importance of conceptual analytical approaches, but also to stress the value of a wider, more inclusive characterization. In the light of these, examples are offered to illustrate the role the subject must have in the understanding and improvement of educational policy and practice. Reference is primarily to the UK context, but the manner in which fundamental questions are addressed makes clear their much wider relevance and importance. (shrink)
Drawing partial contrasts with Deweyan and poststructuralist approaches, this essay develops an account of democratic participation based upon the work of Stanley Cavell. In particular it explores Cavell's reading of the celebrated treatment of the theme of the “body politic” in Shakespeare's Coriolanus. The discussion examines what it is that conditions the emergence of participative democracy, with particular reference to questions concerning the body and the voice. Tensions between perfectionism and perfectability are considered, and an attempt is made to delineate (...) the kind of economy of exchange that is necessary for democracy. The implications of this account for education are discussed in terms of the kinds of qualities that need to be developed in people, and the nature of the curriculum and teaching methods that might contribute to this is explored. (shrink)
This article explores aspects of eros in education in relation to ideas of indirectness associated with the French concept of pudeur, sometimes translated as ‘modesty’. It explores lines of thought extending through Emerson and Nietzsche but reaching back to Plato's Symposium. This is a means of exposing the ‘impudence’ of some aspects of contemporary education and of pointing towards a conception of eros that is otherwise obscured.
In his essay 'The Scandal of Skepticism', Stanley Cavell discusses aspects of the work of Emmanuel Levinas with a view to understanding how 'philosophical and religious ambitions so apparently different' as his own and those of Levinas can have led to 'phenomenological coincidences so precise'. The present paper explores themes of scepticism and alterity as these emerge in the work of these two increasingly influential philosophers. It shows education to be a sustained preoccupation in their work, crucially related to these (...) guiding themes. In the process it seeks to dispel certain assumptions regarding poststructuralism, on the one hand, and the religious implications of Levinas's thought, on the other. This lays the way for an account of the criticality of human being, of the significance of this for community, and of the demands this makes on education. (shrink)
J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello is an overtly philosophical novel, at the heart of which are questions concerning the relation of human beings to animals and the discussion of animal rights. The nature of its subject matter and the prominence it gives to dialogue, sometimes of an almost Platonic kind, make it a rich potential resource for moral education. This article begins by imagining a course based on extracts from the novel, intended for teenage students or older people. It goes on (...) to make suggestions for further reading. There is now a rich secondary literature that has developed in response to central elements in Coetzee's text, involving the work of Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Cora Diamond, Stanley Cavell, John McDowell, Cary Wolfe, and Ian Hacking, amongst others. This literature raises questions about the nature of moral philosophy, and it has implications for moral education. (shrink)
This book explores the idea of translation as a philosophical theme and as an important feature of philosophy and practical life, in the context of a searching examination of aspects of the work of Stanley Cavell. Furthermore it demonstrates the broader significance of these philosophical questions for education and life as a whole.
Educational research is dominated by a particular model: data is gathered and analysed. Much literature on methods concerns either ways of processing data, or ethical issues regarding its collection and handling. The present paper looks beyond these matters to the taken‐for‐granted idea of data itself. What can be meant by ‘data’? How does this connect with ideas of the given? What is the place of giving in education—in teaching and learning, in research itself? These issues are explored in the light (...) of information technology’s impact on research, uncovering ethical dimensions that the seeming naturalness of data otherwise obscures. (shrink)
Emptiness, indeed nihilism, is a characteristic of so much contemporary discourse regarding morality and moral education. This is found in facile notions of teaching right and wrong but also in the prevalence of rights-talk, with its sacrosanct assumptions about equality. This article examines this discourse in the light of Levinas' account of the primacy of ethics - of my absolute responsibility in the face of the other, of the asymmetry of my relation to the other. It seeks an account of (...) receptivity that releases the ethical from the limitations of moral reasoning. (shrink)
Shifts in funding and a worldwide trend towards marketising higher education have led to a new emphasis on the quality of the student experience. In the UK this trend finds its strongest expression in recent policy proposals to simultaneously increase student fees and student choice so that students themselves become the drivers of higher education. We trace the policy developments of this shift over recent years and rehearse some of the criticisms against it. Accepting that there is good reason to (...) support improving the student experience, we then consider ways in which this might be achieved that foreground the relation of university teachers with their subject matter and students’ engagement in this. A higher education, we argue, should expose its students to disciplines whose standards are rightly contested and to a form of learning that intensifies or unsettles desires rather than simply aspiring to satisfy them. (shrink)
We critically examine pragmatism's approach to skepticism and try to elucidate its certain limits. The central questions to be addressed are: whether “skepticism” interpreted through the lens of problem-solving does justice to the human condition; and whether the problem-solving approach to skepticism can do justice to pragmatism's self-proclaimed anti-foundationalism. We then examine Stanley Cavell's criticism of Dewey's “problem-solving” approach. We propose a shift from the problem-solving approach's eagerness for solutions to a more Wittgensteinian and Emersonian project of dissolution.
Can Levinas’ thought of the other be extended beyond the relation to the other human being? This article seeks to demonstrate that Levinas’ philosophy can indeed be read in such a sense and that this serves to open up a new way of understanding human thinking. Key to understanding such an extension of Levinas’ philosophy will be his account of the face and, more particularly, his claim that the relation to the face is ‘heard in language’. Through explicating what is (...) at stake in this claim, we will work to show how Levinas’ philosophy leads us away from what might be called a tradition of understanding human thought through the medium of light and takes us toward a conception of thinking that is conditioned by sound. In the final section of the article, we consider what such a shift might suggest for the ways we understand thinking in both educational and everyday contexts. (shrink)
Wittgenstein was apparently looking for someone else. It was because he had not been successful that he had knocked at the Leavises’ door, to bide his time there before he looked again. On entering the house, he immediately peered through the window into the street. Yet after a moment he turned and said abruptly: “You’ve got a gramophone, I see—I don’t suppose you’ve anything worth playing.” And “Then,” so Leavis continues the description,with a marked change of tone, he exclaimed “Ah!”: (...) from the repository just at hand he pulled out the album of Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony and put the first record on the machine. A moment after the music began to sound he lifted the tone-arm, altered the speed, and lowered... (shrink)
Stefan Ramaekers and Joris Vlieghe’s ‘Infants, childhood and language in Agamben and Cavell: education as transformation’ is an insightful discussion of an important facet of educational experience. In the article, they consider a Fred Astaire dance sequence from the 1953 Vincente Minnelli film, The Band Wagon, in combination with a remarkable article about this same sequence by Stanley Cavell. On the strength of this, they develop an interesting line of thought regarding the experience of language, exploring connections between the ideas (...) of Cavell and Agamben. Rich and thought-provoking though their discussion is, I find that it deflects attention from the most important aspects of the film sequence and the literature that has developed in response – specifically regarding questions of race and praise. The present discussion attempts to address these matters. (shrink)
This book addresses concerns about educational and moral standards in a world increasingly characterised by nihilism. On the one hand there is widespread anxiety that standards are falling; on the other, new machinery of accountability and inspection to show that they are not. The authors in this book state that we cannot avoid nihilism if we are simply _laissez-faire_ about values, neither can we reduce them to standards of performance, nor must we return to traditional values. They state that we (...) need to create a new set of values based on a critical assessment of contemporary practice in the light of a number of philosophical texts that address the question of nihilism, including the work of Nietzsche. (shrink)