Journal of Philosophy of Education

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1467-9752
Print ISSN: 0309-8249
Traditionally, research has been seen as a process in which particular cases are studied in order to produce generalisations that can later be applied to other situations. This is arguably the case, for instance, of plain statistical generalisation from samples to populations, but also of grounded theory, local theory and democratic theory. Other research approaches, such as case study research and action research, have challenged this conception and have formulated a process in which transfer takes place directly from particular cases to other particular cases, thus bypassing generalisations. Nevertheless, I argue that, even in research on single cases, and regardless of whether it is descriptive, explanatory or normative, any piece of research unavoidably produces, supports, modifies, qualifies or refines generalisations in the course of a research project. These generalisations are constitutive of the very descriptions, explanations and normative justifications used to talk about the particular. Nevertheless, they vary in their degree of explicitness, certainty and complexity, as well as in the substantive dimensions they generalise on. The neglect of this characteristic in the educational literature may stem from the inductive assumption that knowledge in research is produced when one first finds something about one or more cases or situations, and then generalises (or does not generalise) the results to other contexts. But generalisation exists all along the process.
The first half of Plato's Hippias Major exhibits the interfacing of the first teacher (Socrates) with the first version of a post-colonial, multicultural information technology system (Hippias). In this interface the purposes, results and values of two contradictory types of operating system for educational servicing units are exhibited to, and can be discovered by, anyone who is not an information technologist.
ABSTRACT Academic administration is not to be construed simply as a technical practice, the development of efficient management systems, nor as reactive, as response to the collective views of the academic community, nor in terms of academic leadership, the establishment and implementation of institutional aims. A full account of academic administration will provide a sense of the integral relationship between the academic administrator and the academic community. For that, a prior notion of the academic community is required. Such a notion, giving a central place to structured discourse, can be derived from the German idea of the university and particularly from the writings of von Humboldt, Karl Jaspers and Jurgen Habermas.
This review article examines Leonard Waks's innovative collection of essays entitled Self-Portraiture: The Uses of Academic Autobiography: Review of Leaders in Philosophy of Education: Intellectual Self-Portraits. The book is based on invitations to leading philosophers of education to write about their own careers in the field and to offer an intellectual autobiography. The purpose of the book is not primarily to provide a history of particular arguments and their rebuttal, and in this sense it is not directly philosophical, but the chapters do chronicle broader intellectual shifts, and this is invaluable. The article examines the essays in terms of the relation between the professional and the personal, and between political and social contexts. Academic virtues and vices are found to be on display in several of the accounts. Together the essays constitute, albeit to an incomplete degree, the history of a movement, with philosophy of education framed mainly as an Anglo-American pursuit. Finally, in the light of this series of reflections, the article ponders the future of the subject both in relation to the changing context of educational policy and practice, and in terms of its positioning with regard to mainstream philosophy.
Traditionally, ‘education through research’ is understood to be a main characteristic of education at the university. In this article we will explore how ‘education through research’ is argued to be of major importance for the European knowledge society, how there is still a reference to the idea of Bildung or liberal education, and what research is presumed to be like if it is to have this edifying potential. It will be argued that the edifying potential of research is related to a normative component in the research activity and that this normative orientation and its presuppositions are problematic today. This lays the way for the exploration of alternative approaches to the edifying potential of research (with reference especially to Jürgen Mittelstrass and Jacques Derrida) and for the discussion of what could be at stake for ‘education through research’.
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.
The aim of this article is to establish that current thought about the point of a publicly funded university faces a dilemma. On the one hand, influential and attractive 'macro'-level principles about how state resources ought to be accountably used entail that academic freedom should be utilised solely for the sake of social justice or some other concrete public good. Standard theories of public morality entail that an academic's responsibility is entirely to be 'responsive' or 'relevant' to her social context in the way she teaches and researches. On the other hand, 'micro'-level self-conceptions of teachers and researchers include the idea that it can be proper to use academic freedom in order to discover and impart knowledge that is unlikely to foster social justice, however construed. Probably most academics accept the idea that 'knowledge for its own sake' can often merit pursuit and transmission. In this article, I use the most space to defend the second horn of the dilemma, the micro-level perspective, by indicating just how counterintuitive the macro one is. As a foil I critically discuss a recent report by the South African Council on Higher Education, which occasions awareness of the position that the right to academic freedom is exhausted by a duty to benefit society. However, I conclude by noting prima facie defences of the first horn, pointing out that dominant accounts of institutional ethics forbid scholars from seeking knowledge for its own sake, and hence indicating the need to resolve an antinomy about the proper final ends of a state university.
A review article of Louis Menand (ed) 1996: The Future of Academic Freedom. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press and Bill Readings 1996: The University in Ruins. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press.
The last few decades have seen a steady growth of interest in doing philosophy with children and young people in educational settings. Philosophy with children is increasingly offered as a solution to the problems associated with what is seen by many as a disoriented, cynical, indifferent and individualistic society. It represents for its practitioners a powerful vehicle that teaches children and young people how to think about particular problems in society through the use of interpretive schemes and procedures especially designed for this. It typically conceives of truth-telling as the work of dialogical reasoning, which is understood in turn as leading to increasing awareness of mental and methodological processes. This article starts from another point of view. What is at stake, I shall argue, is not so much the question of how to think for oneself in an appropriate way. Rather, in line with Michel Foucault, I want to identify philosophy as a practice oriented by the care of the self and of transformation of the self by the self. From this angle, philosophy with children will not be understood as something that orients us towards valid knowledge claims, but as an act of becoming present in the present. This way of conceiving of philosophy with children will be explored in the context of a concrete philosophical experiment with children that I planned and carried out in Cambodia.
According to Alasdair MacIntyre's influential account of practices, ‘teaching itself is not a practice, but a set of skills and habits put to the service of a variety of practices’ (MacIntyre and Dunne, 2002, p. 5). Various philosophers of education have responded to and critiqued MacIntyre's position, most notably in a Special Issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Education (Vol. 37.2, 2003). However, both in that Special Issue and since, this debate remains inconclusive. Much of this earlier discussion seems to accept that teaching is a unique case in being a putative practice that does not fit readily into MacIntyre's account. In fact many supposed practices, including some nominated by MacIntyre himself, do not fit his account. A constructive critique of this account leads to a refurbished, broadly MacIntyrean account of practice. This will clarify the issue of whether teaching and a range of other activities are, indeed, practices.
There is an apparent tension between Immanuel Kant's model of moral agency and his often-neglected philosophy of moral education. On the one hand, Kant's account of moral knowledge and decision-making seems to be one that can be self-taught. Kant's famous categorical imperative and related ‘fact of reason’ argument suggest that we learn the content and application of the moral law on our own. On the other hand, Kant has a sophisticated and detailed account of moral education that goes well beyond the kind of education a person would receive in the course of ordinary childhood experience. The task of this paper will be to reconcile these seemingly conflicting claims. Ultimately, I argue, Kant's philosophy of education makes sense as a part of his moral theory if we look not only at individual moral decisions, but also at the goals or ends that these moral decisions are intended to achieve. In Kant's case, this end is what he calls the highest good, and, I argue, the most coherent account of the highest good is a kind of ethical community and end of history, similar to the Groundwork's realm of ends. Seen as a tool to bring about and sustain such a community, Kant's philosophy of moral education exists as a coherent and important part of his moral philosophy.
Educational research has been criticised recently for being poorly conceived, self-indulgent and of little practical use. These allegations are discussed via an overview of the various functions of educational research: the production of knowledge about education, the formulation of educational policy, the promotion of improvements in educational practice, the promotion of radical change in society. The responsibilities of educational researchers are then discussed: proper attention to the functions of educational research, accountability for monies spent, recognition of responsibility for their activities. The pressures exerted by external funding bodies and the distorting effects of the research assessment exercise in the UK affect our sense of priorities here.
The current quality assurance culture demands the explicit articulation, by means of publication, of what have been hitherto tacit norms and conventions underlying disciplinary genres. The justification is that publication aids student performance and guarantees transparency and accountability. This requirement makes a number of questionable assumptions predicated upon what we will argue is an erroneous epistemology. It is not always possible to articulate in a publishable form a detailed description of disciplinary practices such as assessment. As a result publication cannot achieve its stated goals. There are always elements of our knowledge that cannot be linguistically articulated.
This article outlines and appraises the considerable criticism of educational research, both in the United Kingdom and in North America, and shows how it has pointed to a narrowing of what counts as good or worthwhile research in the policy discourse. In particular, this involved prioritising research that purports to show clearly and unmistakably ‘what works’, and institutionalising this view of research in a range of centres that receive official approval. The article, though recognising the fruit of such centres, challenges the epistemological basis of such a narrowing of what counts as research, and, in doing so, analyses what is meant by evidence, the different kinds and strengths of evidence and the consequent need to democratise the search and appraisal of evidence in the constant refinement and criticism of the evidence.
Steven Higgins and Vivienne Baumfield have recently attempted to defend the much discussed idea of general thinking skills against attacks from three quarters: what they regard as a priori objections, which they liken to Zeno's paradox that Achilles will not catch the tortoise; domains theories of knowledge, which oppose the idea of thinking skills being general and transcending domains; and the claim that experts use subject specific knowledge, and don't use general thinking skills. We examine these defences and find them flawed and worrying. We conclude that this is a domain in serious need of a priori approaches.
Attempts to build bridges between Kierkegaard and current educational debates or dilemmas are in danger of appearing facile to friends of Kierkegaard, and opportunistic or irrelevant to each opposing side in educational controversies. In hope of reducing such extravagant risks, this essay explores some aspects of Kierkegaard on communication and on ways of being, i.e. his spheres or stages of existence. Communication through ways of being seems relatively straightforward. Communication across ways of being can seem either absurdly complicated or (if aiming at unravelling such complications) wonderfully illuminating. This Kierkegaard could become a creatively awkward, Socratic partner in educational attempts to critique and deepen current accounts of language and communication, narrative and accountability, reason and justification, personal and social development, emotional intelligence and (of course) moral and religious education (with or without ‘spiritual’ development) as well as political or citizenship education. Wittgenstein found in Kierkegaard one lifelong Socratic conversation partner. If other educators can do this in their own ways, Kierkegaard can still breathe more lively passion into the cold embers of educational discourses.
‘Critique’ means the questioning judgement of human actions, particularly with reference to a criterion of judgement that is inseparable from the judged state of affairs but is dependent on a decision of the person judging. Informative judgements of a state of affairs contain two relevant components, one concerned with recognition of the objects of judgment, the other concerned with their evaluation. This evaluation is not directly extractable from that state of affairs, but the quality of the evaluation does depend in part upon the quality of its explanation. Thus, when the content-description is flawed, the evaluation is affected by the flawed description. The phrase ‘the domestication of critique’ refers to the successful attempts that have been made to cause critics to neglect the truth claims of the judgement in favour of normative dominant interests. Domesticated critique is not concerned with the testing but rather with the justification or interpretation of a state of affairs. Domesticated critique does not depend on the quality of the argument but rather on whether the critique succeeds in legitimating dominant interests and immunising them against undomesticated critique. The educational relevance of the domestication of critique lies in the fact that a critical education which is domesticated will alleviate the need for overt repression on the part of dominant interests in favour of a particular view of the world and replace it with the semblance of a critical attitude that in fact reinforces the existing order through apparently rational means. Education based on domesticated critique can have no radical implications.
This article examines the relationship between action research and policy and the kind of confidence teachers, policy makers and other potential users may have in such research. Many published teacher action research accounts are criticised on the grounds that they do not fully meet the conventional standards for reporting social scientific research, and by implication are held to be less trustworthy. Action research is nevertheless often seen by some academics and policy makers as a potential method for developing theory, disseminating good practice, or raising standards. Through a discussion of three major approaches to action research—seen variously as professional learning, practical philosophy and critical social science—it is argued that judgements about confidence depend upon understanding the various kinds of knowledge claim that can be made by action researchers, and appropriate judgements concerning the strength of evidence or reasons.
The chapter records personal accounts of the author’s dealings with dilemmas encountered in the research methods literature and in the field of practice, as an action researcher and teacher educator. It draws on Mary Chamberlain’s Fenwomen to illustrate some of the dangers of ethnographic research. Using data from two instances, one in a pre-service initial teacher-training programme and the other in teacher induction, the author draws out the tensions between the ‘need to know’ in order to act professionally, and the ‘need to protect’ in order to do the same.
The aim of this paper is to examine the role of methodology in action research. It begins by showing how, as a form of inquiry concerned with the development of practice, action research is nothing other than a modern 20th century manifestation of the pre-modern tradition of practical philosophy. It then draws in Gadamer's powerful vindication of the contemporary relevance of practical philosophy in order to show how, by embracing the idea of ‘methodology’, action research functions to sustain a distorted understanding of what practice is. The paper concludes by outlining a non-methodological view of action research whose chief task is to promote the kind of historical self-consciousness that the development of practice presupposes and requires.
This chapter discusses the role conflict of the educational researcher who comes upon an unprofessional relationship between teacher and pupil. It is argued that the whistleblowing literature in related professions, with its focus on standard conditions and solutions framed as obligations, is inadequate. Reference is made to the idea of ‘guilty knowledge’: the feelings of guilt that attach when one comes to know of harm visited on innocent others, and has no unqualified sense of which way to act. Distinguishing moral from causal responsibility helps to show how blame need not necessarily attach to the guilt-ridden researcher, whichever option she chooses.
I argue here, that, ultimately and in large part, the stakes of educational action research are conditioned by the various ways of conceiving theory, research and practice, and I attempt to explore and put forward one such way that I view as potentially more helpful than others. I begin with a comparative overview of the implicit philosophical assumptions that have informed or grounded educational action research in the broadly conceived Germanic and Anglo-American contexts. I then examine the tensions around theory and practice and the role such tensions play in educational action research. In my interpretation, the polemics surrounding this topic have significantly shaped the course educational action research has taken. Examining such polemics, then, might be useful in the effort to approach risks, prospects and visions and to develop the perspective of a recuperated, enhanced but modest philosophical intervention in educational action research.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is presented and understood as the primary reference point regarding questions of children's rights. However, the UNCRC is not a neutral instrument deployed to meet the rights of children: it embodies a specific perception of the child, childhood and citizenship. The interpretation of the UNCRC from the point of view of children's legal status emphasises the autonomy of children; the focus is on the rights that children possess. Conversely, the social-political interpretation of the UNCRC addresses the question of how the rights of children can be realised. It is suggested that distinguishing between these interpretations is essential with regard to questions of pedagogy and education.
R.S. Peters' arguments for the worthwhileness of theoretical activities are intended to justify education per se, on the assumption that education is necessarily a matter of initiating people into theoretical activities. If we give up this assumption, we can ask whether Peters' arguments might serve instead to justify the academic curriculum over other curricular arrangements. For this they would need to show that theoretical activities are not only worthwhile but, in some relevant sense, more worthwhile than activities of other kinds. I argue that Peters' hedonistic and transcendental arguments do not show this, but that his account of theoretical activities is suggestive of an instrumental argument which might fit the bill.
This paper challenges Richard Pring's suggestion that parents using private education may be undermining the desire for social justice and equality, using recent arguments of Adam Swift as a springboard. Swift's position on the banning of private schools, which uses a Rawlsian ‘veil of ignorance’ argument, is explored, and it is suggested that, if equality of opportunity is a major aim, it does not go far enough by permitting parental partiality. If the only alternative is a Platonic state, then this may be acceptable. But a neglected third scenario, drawing on the insights of Adam Smith, shows ‘self-love’ to be a valuable social virtue, leading to a more favourable resolution of the ‘paradox of the shipwreck’ than that explored by Swift. Pointers are given to evidence from developing countries and a more detailed ‘veil of ignorance’ argument to support this case.
Bill Lawson and Donald Koch's book Pragmatism and the Problem of Race offers a range of essays that explore the relation of pragmatic philosophy to race and racial injustice. The authors hope to understand and correct for the systematic ignorance regarding race that characterised the social philosophy of John Dewey. Some of the authors document Dewey's distance from racial matters, while other authors defend particular aspects of Dewey's pragmatic method; and some authors develop reconstructions of Dewey's position to enable it to be sensitive to racial matters and racial inequalities.
The article starts from the questions: what is it to be an inhabitant or citizen of a globalised world, and how are we to think of education in relation to such inhabitants? We examine more specifically the so–called ‘European area of higher education’ that is on the way to being established and that can be regarded as a concrete example of a process of globalisation. In the first part of the paper we try to show that the discursive horizon, and the concrete techniques and strategies that accompany the establishment of this space of higher education, invite the inhabitants of that space to see themselves as entrepreneurial and autonomous entities. In the second part we show how this specific kind of subjectivation (this production of subjects), related as it is to this globalised space, involves what we call an immunisation that also affects our thinking and our ideas in and about education. To refer to this as a kind of immunisation implies that globalisation could in fact be considered a closing or enclosing rather than an opening up. We argue, therefore, that this immunisation needs to be refused in favour of the invention of other kinds of subjectivity, other ways of speaking and writing about the world and about education, such that we relate to ourselves in a different way.
ABSTRACT The concepts of experience and experiential learning are of critical significance in both the study and practice of adult education. Adults are seen as uniquely characterised by their experience, experiential learning an alternative to didactic and knowledge-based modes of education. In this paper a critique is presented of the powerful discourse of the autonomous subject based on humanistic psychology which, it is argued, has shaped adult education in a misleading, inappropriate and unhelpful way. A postmodern perspective drawing on Continental philosophy is utilised. The ‘situated’ subject provides a conception of subjectivity and experience which preserves a needed dimension of agency whilst avoiding psychologism and individualism.
The relationship between adults and children in liberal democracies is based on two flawed assumptions that are widespread: first, that childhood is an impediment, a passing phase of impaired maturity; and second, that children benefit from the proliferation of rights ascribed to them. Social institutions, and particularly the education system, are correspondingly misconstrued. This article focuses on the combined effect of vulnerability and autonomy as they construct contemporary childhood. I conclude that adults' obligations rather than children's rights are the appropriate social, political and educational basis for adult society's relations with children.
A comparison between two teachers drawn from fiction leads to an exploration of the issues between those whose concept of education is focused on the curriculum, and those who understand that pupils are active agents in their education and that therefore some beneficial outcomes can result from pupil subversion of the school. This is developed as a concept of an adversarial curriculum, with particular reference to moral education.
There appear to be various respects in which the outdoor environment has been regarded as significant for education in general and moral education in particular. Whereas some educationalists have considered the environment to be an important site of character development, others have regarded attention to conservation and sustainable development as pressing moral educational concerns in a world of widespread human environmental abuse. The following paper argues that approaches to environmental education that proceed by way of character education or environmental ethics may yet fall short of the central goal of promoting intrinsic appreciation of nature and the outdoors, and explores an alternative strategy focused on exposure to the arts.
In this article I re-examine the role that aesthetics play in Paulo Freire's pedagogy of the oppressed. As opposed to the vast majority of scholarship in this area, I suggest that aesthetics play a more centralised role in pedagogy above and beyond arts-based curricula. To help clarify Freire's position, I will argue that underlying the linguistic resolution of the student/teacher dialectic in the problem-posing classroom is an accompanying shift in the very aesthetics of recognition. In order to demonstrate the always already aesthetic nature of all education, I will turn to the aesthetic philosophy of Jacques Rancière. Through Rancière we can begin to understand how the pedagogy of the oppressed is predicated on an aesthetic redistribution of the sensible, of what can be seen and what can be heard. As Rancière will confirm, if we truly want to understand the aesthetics of pedagogy, we cannot simply see aesthetics as external to teaching and learning. Rather, education as an aesthetic event has to be taken seriously, and aesthetics should regain primacy in discussions of critical pedagogy.
This paper explores the contextual value of solitude in learning; in so doing, it attempts to suggest an alternative method of instruction that is based on aesthetics as the reciprocal relationship between emotions and intellect, and between action and contemplation. Such an aesthetic education or method seeks to guide the student towards the attainment of her own life: to perfect, as much as possible, her human qualities in what she does by paying attention to the things of Beauty. The method that the essay uses is both historical and interdisciplinary: it draws from theology, philosophy, the sciences and visual art; and, it is guided by an explanatory perspective that is constructive.
The ‘liberal utopia’ presented by Richard Rorty in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity is a unique attempt to address the ancient problem of the relationship between individual and society or, in Rorty's terms, that between the private and the public. This article examines Rorty's influential conception of education and asks: can his book be regarded as utopian? Is it possible to establish an education for democracy on his ‘postmodern’ premises? I conclude that Rorty's attempt to separate private from public and to promote a fusion between irony and solidarity is tantamount to founding human existence on an aestheticising orientation. This entangles Rorty in self-contradiction and raises educational and political problems which remain unresolved.
This paper describes an experimental course in the preparation of art teachers. The goal of the course was to engage final-year art students in thinking about the fundamental questions in aesthetic education and in considering various views of their roles as teachers of art. The classes presented a dialogue between two teachers: a philosopher of art and an artist. We discussed the social justification of art, the place of art in education and more generally the portrayal of visual culture in philosophical thought. The bibliography for the course comprised a list of basic texts in aesthetic education, from Friedrich Schiller to Nelson Goodman. In class we linked the range of philosophical views examined to the artistic exploration of themes (mainly in contemporary and local art). The course also incorporated guest speakers who presented their own projects relating to different meeting points of art and education, including social-activist artists, curators, philosophers of education and school architects. The article presents the rationale for the course, its method and a sample of its content.
The paper establishes the principle of ‘back-formation’ of artistic creation, the process by which artists realise in their work a theme or motif that had not been previously intended but is brought into being as the work comes to fruition. The authors suggest that teaching also should be guided by this principle. To solve the inherent problem of power imbalance in teaching, they appeal to Bakhtin's recourse to aesthetical judgment in addressing relational issues. Gadamer's rehabilitation of prejudices shows that not only is an ethics of relation worked out as an aesthetic practice, but also that aesthetic practices are worked out within an ethics of relation.
This paper defends my argument that criterion-referenced assessment should not be used to render an education system accountable to the state. Winch and Gingell's reply to my original paper understands me as denying the ‘plasticity’ of abilities. Considerable space is devoted to further discussion of this issue.‘Plasticity’ is not denied, but problems about the ‘identity’ of capacities, abilities, processes and rules are explored in some depth. Winch and Gingell defend certain kinds of pedagogy such as rote learning and ‘teaching to the test’. I remind them that I was not actually discussing pedagogy in the original paper.
From the perspective of an African ethic, analytically interpreted as a philosophical principle of right action, what are the proper final ends of a publicly funded university and how should they be ranked? To answer this question, I first provide a brief but inclusive review of the literature on Africanising higher education from the past 50 years, and contend that the prominent final ends suggested in it can be reduced to five major categories. Then, I spell out an intuitively attractive African moral theory and apply it to these five final ends, arguing that three of them are appropriate but that two of them are not. After that, I maintain that the African moral theory prescribes two additional final ends for a public university that are not salient in the literature. Next, I argue that employing the African moral theory as I do enables one to rebut several criticisms of Africanising higher education that have recently been made from a liberal perspective. I conclude by posing questions suitable for future research.
‘Africanisation’ has, during the last few decades, been a buzzword that has enjoyed special currency in South Africa. Africanisation is generally seen to signal a (renewed) focus on Africa, on reclamation of what has been taken from Africa, and, as such, it forms part of post-colonialist, anti-racist discourse. With regard to knowledge, it comprises a focus on indigenous African knowledge and concerns simultaneously ‘legitimation’ and ‘protection from exploitation’ of this knowledge. With regard to education, the focus is on Africanisation of institutions, curricula, syllabi and criteria for excellence (in research, performance, etc.). This paper, while sympathetic to the basic concerns that inform the call/s for Africanisation, spells out the problems and limits of this project. For one thing, the idea of Africanisation may evoke a false or at least a superficial sense of ‘belonging’. For another, it may entail further marginalisation and derogation. Lastly, while it may emphasise relevance, it is hazardously close to a comprehensive relativism. In the light of these points, this paper suggests a more promising alternative: a framework of basic human rights appears to be a more appropriate locus for the pertinent concerns and demands.
Book reviewed in this article: Nigel Blake, Thinking Again: Education after Postmodernism
This paper examines Hermann Hesse's penultimate novel, The Journey to the East, from an educational point of view. Hesse was a man of the West who turned to the idea of ‘the East’ in seeking to understand himself and his society. While highly critical of elements of Western modernism, Hesse nonetheless viewed ‘the East’ through Western lenses and drew inspiration from other Western thinkers. At the end of The Journey to the East, the main character, H.H., believes he has found the solution to his despair. This paper argues that he has not, at least not in the fullest sense Hesse came to see was possible. H.H. relies too heavily on faith and abandons reason too quickly in seeking to become ‘absorbed’ into the Other that he regards as his higher self. An answer to H.H.'s existential angst can be found in Hesse's final novel, The Glass Bead Game, where educational growth through the development of a critical, questioning, inquiring attitude is a central theme.
Children as learners need adults who love them, even when the children are unable to give anything in return. Furthermore, adults should be able to make wise judgements concerning what is good for the children. The clarification of these principles and of their educational import has to start within our own cultural tradition. Agape (unconditional love, neighbour-love or charity) is a basic concept in the Christian tradition. Phronesis (moral wisdom, practical judgement or prudence) has a key position in the Aristotelian tradition. In his Summa Theologiae Thomas Aquinas has combined these traditions and ethical concepts, with agape (in Latin caritas) as the commanding concept. The article will explore some key challenges and productive resources revealed by this combination for today's education and upbringing.
Top-cited authors
Christopher Winch
  • King's College London
Paul Standish
  • University College London
David Bridges
  • University of East Anglia & St Edmunds College and Homerton College Cambridge
John White
  • University College London
Derek Hodson
  • University of Auckland