ArticlePublisher preview available

Letting Nietzsche inside schools? Educational potential and an acknowledgement of the optimism of his philosophy

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

The aim of this article is to identify the educational interest of Nietzsche’s fundamental philosophical principles. To this end, Nietzsche’s work “The Gay Science” and corresponding references from other fragments of his corpus have been aggregated for the needs of this goal. An analysis of the book’s major propositions indicates an epistemological approach to educational matters, based on knowledge’s refutability and its validation through experimentation. Other parts of this work, stress out the incompatibility of Nietzsche’s philosophy with a democratic education. His philosophical concepts of social order and destiny’s accomplishment are presented in favour of this claim. Finally, the most unique propositions in The Gay Science are unveiled and their potential incorporation into the educational process is proposed. In particular, the values of appearance and fallacy emerge, illuminating the optimistic side of his philosophy. From an educational perspective, these values recommend limiting excess rationalism in classrooms and maintaining students’ learning interest by focusing on their emotional needs.
Vol.:(0123456789)
SN Soc Sci (2021) 1:157
https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00158-x
ORIGINAL PAPER
Letting Nietzsche insideschools? Educational potential
andanacknowledgement oftheoptimism ofhis
philosophy
IoannisSkordis1 · Christos‑ThomasKechagias2·
Alexander‑StamatiosAntoniou2
Received: 23 December 2020 / Accepted: 5 May 2021 / Published online: 3 June 2021
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
Abstract
The aim of this article is to identify the educational interest of Nietzsche’s funda-
mental philosophical principles. To this end, Nietzsche’s work “The Gay Science”
and corresponding references from other fragments of his corpus have been aggre-
gated for the needs of this goal. An analysis of the book’s major propositions indi-
cates an epistemological approach to educational matters, based on knowledge’s ref-
utability and its validation through experimentation. Other parts of this work, stress
out the incompatibility of Nietzsche’s philosophy with a democratic education. His
philosophical concepts of social order and destiny’s accomplishment are presented
in favour of this claim. Finally, the most unique propositions in The Gay Science are
unveiled and their potential incorporation into the educational process is proposed.
In particular, the values of appearance and fallacy emerge, illuminating the optimis-
tic side of his philosophy. From an educational perspective, these values recommend
limiting excess rationalism in classrooms and maintaining students’ learning interest
by focusing on their emotional needs.
Keywords Philosophy of Education· Nietzsche· The Gay Science· School
education· Epistemology· Teaching strategies
* Ioannis Skordis
iskordis@sch.gr
1 Department ofPrimary Education, Ministry ofEducation, Athens, Greece
2 Department ofPrimary Education, National andKapodistrian University ofAthens, 20
Ippokratous str, 10680Athens, Greece
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to present in brief the main researches about the prediction of social behavior through values and social axioms, to suggest their utilization in the field of philosophy and sociology of education and also to highlight the significant contribution of the educator in the moral edification of a person. Initially, it is being held a brief reference to Schwartz’s theory of values and social axioms in order to show the important role they play in social behavior. Then, Schwartz's study of intercultural values as well as their outcomes is outlined in detail. The ensuing report refers to researches which took place both intercultural and in Greece about social axioms and dimensions that have been found. It is being accomplished an approach about researches that have been made intercultural and aimed at predicting the social behavior with the help of values and social axioms. In parallel, there is a brief survey of Michael Hand’s theory about moral education and its criticism. By the literature review is being proved that there is a semantic correlation between values and social axioms, but there isn’t a significant combination of social behavior. From their roots, both values and social axioms seem to affect social behavior.
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have shown that secondary and college students are increasingly apathetic and disengaged from their schooling. The problem of student disengagement is not confined to under-represented socioeconomic groups; it is found across the country—in cities, suburbs, and rural communities; in wealthy schools and poor schools; in public schools and charter schools; in majority white schools and those composed largely of students of color. In this essay, we argue that Friedrich Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy contains crucial pedagogical and conceptual resources for responding to this widespread problem. The conception of “Dionysian pessimism” Nietzsche advances in this early work and its relationship to the escapist, “Alexandrianism” he observes in late 19th century German education are relevant to the contemporary problem of student disengagement, we argue, because they address head on the reality of struggle in students’ academic experiences and can potentially explain the disengagement they experience when they fail to acknowledge, accept and even embrace the struggle of education. When struggle is seen as something to be avoided and endured only for the sake of later academic and career success, as it often is, Nietzsche argues that apathy, disengagement and even resentment can result. Thus, while Nietzsche’s diagnosis is rooted in an analysis of his own culture and time, this essay hopes to show that it has the potential to speak to important practical issues in contemporary education.
Article
Full-text available
Book
Εδώ, το πεδίο ερεύνης είναι ο Ελληνικός πολιτισμός, κυρίως γιατί μελετώντας τα μνημεία που άφησε, την τεράστια πολιτισμική του παραγωγή, μπορούμε να εντοπίσουμε αυτές τις σημασίες και να βρούμε τις αρτιώσεις τους, όπως ιστορικά εκφράστηκαν από τους ίδιους τους δημιουργούς τους. Καθώς μάλιστα οι περισσότερες εξ αυτών ήταν άγνωστες για τον τότε υπόλοιπο γνωστό κόσμο, θα πρέπει να συνεκτιμήσουμε και το γεγονός ότι ευτυχώς –παρά την αδικαιολόγητη καταστροφή του μεγαλυτέρου μέρους των πρωτογενών πηγών‐ ο πλούτος των φαντασιακών σημασιών, που εκφράστηκαν, είτε ως θέσεις, είτε ως θεσμίσεις, αποτέλεσαν το πηγαίο ύδωρ και για τον υπόλοιπο (σύγχρονο δυτικό) κόσμο. Κατ’ επέκτασιν, η αναζήτηση της φύσης θέσεων και θεσμίσεων, ίσως μας προμηθεύσει με χρήσιμη πληροφορία για την προέλευση και την φύση των κεντρικών σημασιών, γύρω από τις οποίες δομείται και ο σύγχρονος δυτικός κόσμος. Αλλά τί είναι, γιατί υφίσταται (για ποιόν, πώς λειτουργεί) και σε τί εξυπηρετεί η «θέσις» κάθε ανθρωπίνου όντος, ως μια έσχατη αναγωγή των ανά χρόνον και τόπον αποφάνσεων του υποκειμένου κάθε δράσης; Από τί επηρεάζεται, πώς προκαλείται, επί ποίου υλικού λαμβάνει χώρα, τί επηρεάζει, πώς ανατροφοδοτεί το ίδιο το ον ως βιοφυσική ύπαρξη, αλλά και τον πολιτικό άνθρωπο, αφ’ ενός ως θεσμό, αφ’ ετέρου ως πρόταγμα; Άραγε η θέσις είναι δοσμένη από κάποιον θεό, από την φύση, από την ιστορία ή είναι δημιούργημα και –αν ναι, τότε‐ ποιός την δημιούργησε, πότε και μέχρι πότε θα υφίσταται;
Chapter
As recent policy debates demonstrate, schools in democratic societies are often under political and cultural pressure to equalize achievement among all students, even if it necessitates diverting resources from the most educationally advantaged to the least educationally advantaged. The assumption is that maximizing student potential is a zero-sum game, and the best way to increase achievement in the least advantaged group is to focus the majority of attention on their needs, even if it diminishes the potential of the most advantaged group. The question is whether this is a good assumption. Friedrich Nietzsche argues that it is not. In Schopenhauer as Educator, Nietzsche argues that inequalities of talent and achievement are actually productive of excellence in all students. He believes that attempts to minimize inequality by slowing the progress of the highest-achieving backfires. While it is supposed to help the lowest-achieving, it actually serves to diminish their flourishing. This is not to say that he wants to do away with all equality. Rather, he believes that flourishing cultures can embody a fundamental equality that is more meaningful than the false equality that demands similar levels of achievement among students. I examine Nietzsche’s reasons for believing that inequalities of talent and achievement may improve the well-being of the highest-achieving and lowest-achieving, and all students in between. While Nietzsche’s ideas are too radical to adopt wholesale, they raise important questions concerning how best to educate all students, no matter what their level of ability.
Article
This paper considers the plight of Western education and the demands it makes upon us. It argues that the feared end of education, underpins, and unduly shackles reflection on the current crisis of education. As a spectral, abysmal prospect, it both fetters and stimulates educational critique, mobilising critique to the support of a cause it cannot question because it is committed to its rescue. In a time of crisis, we find ourselves tied only more firmly to education, forced to express or enact our faith in educational redemption. Drawing from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault, a contrasting, genealogical critique of education is advanced, one that might defer the impulse of educational redemption and defy the limits on thought currently imposed. A genealogy of education is outlined that strips education of its dignity, and thereby challenges its dominion. The necessary incoherence of such an approach is explored.
Article
The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) movement argues that broad-based education that promotes creativity recognizes student learning diversity, increases student engagement and can potentially enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning by embracing cross-cutting translational skills common to STEM and arts and design disciplines. This article describes and discusses the advocacy strategy designed at Rhode Island School of Design to promote STEAM education policy. Recommendations presented include (a) recognition of the arts (and design) as core subjects alongside STEM; (b) addressing issues of equity/resources to deliver arts education; (c) calling for research into potential outcomes of STEAM educational models; and (d) funding for professional development and latitude for teachers to explore interdisciplinary learning.
Article
The republication of Nietzsche’s lectures “On the Future of Our Educational Institutions” invites reconsideration of Nietzsche’s thought on education. Though there is much in these lectures that might appeal to those struggling for the future of the humanities, or for the future of education more generally, I argue against their use in the attempted redemption of the humanities or education. Consideration of “Schopenhauer as Educator”, published two years later, brings out Nietzsche’s growing hostility to education. Education in modernity is a lost cause, Nietzsche argues. It is beyond redemption because (1) true teachers can no longer be found and (2) we are almost incapable of educating ourselves. At best we might attempt to educate ourselves against the age, which includes the challenging task of educating against our selves. From this position, which holds out little hope for the future of education as it is currently configured, if the modern educator has any functionality left, it is to serve as a symptom of decline.
Book
Aaron Ridley explores Nietzsche's mature ethical thought as expressed in his masterpiece On the Genealogy of Morals. Taking seriously the use that Nietzsche makes of human types, Ridley arranges his book thematically around the six characters who loom largest in that work—the slave, the priest, the philosopher, the artist, the scientist, and the noble. By elucidating what the Genealogy says about these figures, he achieves a persuasive new assessment of Nietzsche's ethics. Ridley's intellectually supple interpretation reveals Nietzsche's ethical position to be deeper and more interesting than is often supposed: the relation, for instance, between Nietzsche's ideal of the noble and the ascetic or priestly conscience does not emerge as a stark opposition but as a rich interplay between the tensions inherent in each. Equally, he shows that certain under-appreciated confusions in Nietzsche's thought reveal much about the positive aspects of the philosopher's moral vision. The only book devoted entirely to the Genealogy, Nietzsche's Conscience offers a sympathetic but tough-minded critical reading of the philosopher's most important work. Delivered in clear and vigorous language and employing a broadly analytical approach, Ridley's commentary makes Nietzsche's reflections on morality more accessible than they have been hitherto.