1-20 of 41 Results

  • Keywords: philosophy x
Clear all

Article

“Decolonial philosophy of education” is an almost nonexistent term. Consequently, rigorous intellectual and scholarly conversations on education tend to be centered around a specific set of concepts and discourses that were (and still are) generated, picked up or analyzed by thinkers from a specific geographical and political space, such as Socrates, Rousseau, Dewey, Heidegger, and Foucault. This has led to the systemic ignoring and violating concepts and ideas generated from other spaces and lived through by other people. This legacy can also be related to some philosophical aspirations for gaining total, hegemonic, and universal perceptions and representations often formulated by male Euro-American philosophers; when this intellectual passion for universality becomes coupled with or stays silent about imperial and expansionist ambitions, it can see itself implicated in creating assimilationist or genocidal practices: in education, the manifestation of universality associated with imperialism is observed in Indian residential schools. While the words education, literacy, curriculum, learning of languages, acquiring knowledge, school, school desks, and school buildings might normally echo positive vibes for many, it can make an aboriginal survivor of an Indian residential school shudder. It is furthermore hard to ignore the aspirations for a European/Universalist definition of human and man in the famous “Kill the Indian to save the child” policy of Indian Residential Schools. However, the likelihood of deeming such assimilationist attempts as benign acts of trial and error and as events external to philosophy is generally high. Therefore, the “colonial edge” of these philosophies are, more often than not, left unexamined. This is the plane where decolonial philosopher dwell. They deliberate on essential key moments and discussions in philosophical thought that have either not been paused at enough or paused at all, and thereby question this lack of attention. There is an important reason for these intellectual halts practiced by decolonial philosophers. While these might seem to be abstract epistemic endeavors, decolonial philosophers see their work as practices of liberation that aim beyond disrupting the eminence of mainstream Euro-American philosophical thought. Through these interrogative pauses, they hope to intervene, overturn and restructure the philosophical, political and social imaginations in favor of the silenced, the ignored, the colonized, and the (epistemologically and physically) violated. This article engages with certain key decolonial theses and is concerned with the hope of initiating and further expanding the dialogues of decolonization in the philosophy of education. The article will, however, stay away from adding new theses or theories to decolonial education. The author believes that this field, much like other paradigms, either can or will at some point suffer from theoretical exhaustion. Instead, it directs the readers to pause at some of the decisive moments discussed in decolonial theories.

Article

Roland W. Mitchell, Nicholas E. Mitchell, and Chaunda A. Mitchell

Spirituality and education have historically been tightly intertwined concepts. Spirituality is the timeless pursuit by humanity for certainty, understanding, and an abiding connection to each other and the cosmos. Education represents humanity’s efforts at grouping practices, insights, and often contested knowledges in such a manner that they are passed across generations, groups, and communities. The combination of the two reflects humanity’s pursuit at making sense out of the environment.

Article

Charlene Tan

Issues related to the aim of education, curriculum, teaching, and learning are perennial concerns in Confucianism. Within the Confucian canon, two texts, Analects (Lunyu) and Xueji (Record of Learning), are particularly instructive in illuminating the principles and practices of education for early Confucianism. Accordingly, the aim of education is to inculcate ren (humanity) through li (normative behaviors) so that learners can realize and broaden dao (Way). To achieve this aim, the curriculum should be holistic, broad-based, and integrated; students should constantly practice what they have learned through self-cultivation and social interaction. Supporting the curriculum is learner-focused education, where the teacher is sensitive to the individual needs of students. The “enlightening approach” is recommended, where the teacher encourages and guides students using the questioning technique and peer learning. The impact of Confucian education is evident in the creation and flourishing of “Confucian pedagogic cultures” in East Asia. However, a key question confronting a Confucian conception of education is whether such a paradigm is able to nurture critical and creative thinkers who are empowered to critique prevailing worldviews and effect social changes. A textual analysis of Xueji and Analects reveals that critical and creative thinking are valued and indispensable in Confucian education. Confucius himself chastised the rulers of his time, modified certain social practices, and ingeniously redefined terms that were in wide circulation such as li and junzi by adding novel elements to them. Confucian education should be viewed as an open tradition that learns from all sources and evolves with changing times. Such a tradition fulfills the educational vision to appropriate and extend dao, thereby continuing the educational project started by Confucius.

Article

In various ways, the notion of interconnection between all things takes on importance for all aspects of Indigenous life, and therefore, writers in the field of Indigenous education often allude to the priority of interconnection for teaching and learning. The theoretical lens on interconnection, in Indigenous writing, tends to fall into two camps: one, that the world is comprised of distinct entities that are nevertheless connected; and, the other, that one thing is constituted by the entire world. In both cases, Indigenous theories of interconnection can be contrasted with, and even galvanized by, Western rationality, which overwhelmingly tends to fragment things in the world from each other. Education itself for the Indigenous participant may then be more a reflection of the fact of all things—its constitution of the self and all other things—than simply a transmission of knowledge. In this sense, the problem of “education” for Indigenous peoples may not lie only in the fact that education is separated out from other disciplines in dominant Western practice, but also that its attitude towards the world, with its focus on the mind, and with the clarity that fragmented things bring, does not reflect interconnection. It is unlikely that dominant Western modes of education can fully incorporate the values and ethics of Indigenous interconnection. In both pre-tertiary and tertiary education, however, some advances towards holistic and interconnected approaches are possible. In pre-tertiary, a focus on the development of the rational mind (which, from an Indigenous perspective, sits unspoken at the base of Western education) can be moderated somewhat by looking to the human self as a culmination of the world (and vice versa); and, in tertiary education, participants may revise notions of ethics and proper writing to incorporate those things that exist beyond human knowledge.

Article

Dianne Gereluk

The dominant premise underlying contemporary educational theory and practice is that citizens are members of political communities who have inherent rights as part of that membership and concomitant responsibilities that inform their beliefs, commitments, capabilities, and actions as members of these same communities. How individuals govern themselves in relation to others within the political community is a primary aim of education in contemporary policy documents, aims, and objectives statements. Yet, despite the urgency and salience of students learning to live together in the face of social division and conflict, the framing of citizenship and ethics in schools varies at least as much as the different visions of what constitutes a good citizen in the first place. This lack of consensus is reflected in how and where citizenship is framed in schools, how it is considered in policy, and how it is interpreted and facilitated in classrooms. Various educational theorists have also conceptualized the notion of citizenship and its place in schools. The variety of perspectives on these questions underscores the difficulties that educators experience in navigating ethical challenges in an educational and social context, where citizenship has become a publicly contested issue.

Article

Torill Strand

The French philosopher Alain Badiou (1937–) is one of the most significant philosophers of our time, well known for his meticulous work on rethinking, renewing, and thereby strengthening philosophy as an academic discipline. In short, his philosophy seeks to reveal and make sense of the potential of radical innovations in, or transformations of, any given situation. Although he has not written extensively on education, the pedagogical theme is vital, constitutive, and ongoing throughout his work. Badiou is an outspoken critic of the analytic and postmodern schools of thought, as he strongly promotes the virtue of curiosity, and prospects of “an education by truths.” “Truths” are not to be confused with matters of knowledge or opinion. Truths are existential, ongoing, and open-ended ontological operations that do not belong to any epistemic category. An education by such truths operates through a subtraction from the state of the situation and proposes a different direction regarding the true life. According to Badiou, the task of philosophy is to think these truths as processes that emerge from and pursue gradually transformations of particular situations. Overall, the structure of Badiou’s philosophical system demonstrates an extraordinary ontological style as it concurrently stands in relation to, and breaks off from, the history of contemporary French philosophy, German Idealism, and Greek antiquity. His system, which is of vast complexity, is based on mathematical set theory, consisting of a series of determinate negations of the history of philosophy, and also created by the histories of what Badiou terms philosophy’s conditions: science, art, politics, and love.

Article

Marek Tesar, Andrew Gibbons, Sonja Arndt, and Nina Hood

The period of postmodernism refers to a diverse set of ideas, practices, and disciplines that came to prominence in the later 20th century. It is the overarching philosophical project that responds to and critiques the principles of modernity and challenges the established ways of thinking. It opposes the ideas that it is possible to rationalize life through narrow, singular disciplinary thinking or through the establishment of a universal truth and grand narratives that strive for the value-neutral homogeneity that defined Enlightenment thinking. Postmodernism questions ontological, epistemological, and ethical conventions, and it opens up possibilities for multiple discourses and accepting marginalized and minority thoughts and practices. Openness to diversity is a key outcome of the multiplicities arising in postmodernity across a range of fields, including, among others, art, education, philosophy, architecture, and economics. Through its rejection of the totalizing effects of metanarratives and their intentions to achieve universal truths, goals, outcomes, and sameness, the postmodern condition opens an ethical responsibility toward otherness, to allow for diversity, and thus to elevate those who have been subjugated or marginalized in modernity. Postmodernism has been playing a significant role in what sometimes is termed the equity approach in education. While postmodernism may be eventually overtaken by other “posts”—post-qualitative, post-truth, post-digital—it still remains an important part of philosophy of education scholarship and broader understandings and conceptualizations of education.

Article

Inga Bostad

Gratitude may at first glance seem foreign to philosophy of education. Being grateful is often described and interpreted in psychology, anthropology, sociology, or religious contexts, while philosophers have to a lesser degree regarded gratitude as an interesting topic, and there is no agreed upon definition or status of gratitude in philosophy of education. However, the discipline of pedagogy is more than what happens in school, in education and upbringing; it may be interpreted in a broad sense, as the study of how we live together for the renewal and reproduction of a society, and thus the concept of gratitude throws light on the double relationship between teacher and student, wherein one both gives and receives, and makes us see ourselves as relational and dependent on others. In the philosophy of education, gratitude may work as a critical concept revealing imposed social and political orders, power relations, and repressive mechanisms as well as delineating interdependence and interconnectedness, appreciating the efforts and contributions of others as well as social justice. One can define gratitude as a positive, appropriate, and immediate feeling or attitude toward, or a response to, an advantage or something beneficial. Gratitude thus depends on a subject, a being with some kind of intention, consciousness, or emotional life directed toward something or someone. Being grateful to others may express and accordingly justify social hierarchies as well as a balance between actions and benefits, between behavior and quality of life. There are thus arguments for seeing gratitude as both a critical and an enlightening concept. Some argue that gratitude is first and foremost an imposed burden, and that the debt of gratitude is intimately interwoven with, but also differs from, being grateful, as the first implies that a person experiences indebtedness to someone for having received something that also requires some kind of response or reciprocation. Others view gratitude as a neglected and meaningful enrichment of people’s lives: gratitude may promote feelings of community, responsibility, and belonging. Moreover, it can strengthen our appreciation of other people’s efforts and kindness, and of valuable social and cultural institutions. Someone is grateful because they acknowledge what someone else has invested, and being able to express gratitude, or being hindered from it, is also part of the pedagogic relation. It is first and foremost the relationship that defines gratitude; it is both something other than the object—the undertaking or the experience that makes us grateful—and in relationship with that object. To be grateful expresses a sense of life, a condition that addresses not only what you get, but also the responsibility we have as relational human beings.

Article

Cosmopolitanism in education has been articulated in many ways, potentially making understanding what cosmopolitanism can do or has already done for education confounding. At the same time, seeking to define cosmopolitanism in education runs the risk of pigeonholing an eclectic mix of schiolarship related to the subject. In philosophical and curricular conceptions, cosmopolitanism in education is presented in terms of legacies, trends, and typologies. Typologies include (a) projects and practices, (b) personhood, and (c) phenomena. Projects and practices have tended to explore how human rights and global justice ought to be or have been addressed educationally. At the same time, as a project, cosmopolitanism in education is also argued to be a form of social engineering that is meant to turn unreasonable, “savage” students into reasonable world citizens. Cosmopolitanism in education is also expressed as particular human lives whose individual sense of worldliness and care for the world becomes a curriculum for cosmopolitanism. Conversely, cosmopolitans are critiqued in the abstract as rootless people who care little for the temporary topos they occupy as long as the topos gives them what they need. While still emerging as a trend in education, cosmopolitan phenomena have manifested in the world as boundary-defying, manufactured global risks that threaten a non-excludable plurality of lives. These risks cannot be escaped regardless of identity or affiliation(s). Together, these trends and typologies provide a platform to understand a constellation of cosmopolitanisms in education.

Article

As a highly developed religion, Buddhism has very rich ideas related to ethics and morality. Buddhism itself is a way of education. It guides the method and action of cultivating one’s moral character. These practices can be applied in thinking about education, especially specific to education’s ethical and moral implications. In the early 21st century, Buddhist theory has multiple applications in the field such as applied psychology, counseling, and meditation. Though it is an ancient wisdom, its viewpoint can be used to solve contemporary social problems and human crises caused by the process of modernization. Mahāyāna Buddhism believes that this world is constituted by emptiness, which is the perspective on essence-absent ontology. Everything is in its becoming, which is dependent on everything else, following the law of cause and effect. When an important aspect of one’s daily behavior is to cultivate goodwill, the desirable consequences will be returned to them later. That is, one good turn deserves another. On the contrary, bad will receives ill effects back. This is the basis of the Buddhist moral concept. In this way, human beings are active agents who can decide their own conduct and the result of their life. Buddhism encourages an individual to perform practices of precepts, meditation, and wisdom all the time to rid oneself of craving, hatred, and delusion. The latter are origins of human suffering. Humans cannot reach the ultimate spiritual realm of Nirvāṇa until these three poisons are given up. As an approach to self-education, Buddhist ethical thoughts allow learners to search for their self-nature. Buddhist moral claims of compassion and equality can contribute to the thinking of modern educational issues, such as peace education, ecological education, and equality in education.

Article

While specific applications of critical realism to ethnography are few, theoretical developments are promising and await more widespread development. This is especially the case for progressive and critical forms of ethnography that strive to be, in critical realist terms, an “emancipatory science.” However, the history of ethnography reveals that both the field and its emancipatory potential are limited by methodological tendencies toward “naïve realism” and “relativism.” This is the antimony of ethnography. The conceptual and methodological origins of ethnography are grounded in the historical tensions between anti-naturalist Kantian idealism and hyper-naturalist Humean realism. The resolution of these tensions can be found in the conceptual resources of critical realism. Working from, and building upon, the work of British philosopher Roy Bhaskar, critical realism is a movement in the philosophy of science that transcends the limits of Kantian idealism and Humean realism via an emancipatory anti-positivist naturalism. Critical realism emerged as part of the post-positivist movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. From its Marxian origins, critical realism insists that all science, including the social sciences, must be emancipatory. At its essence, this requires taking ontology seriously. The call of critical realism to ethnographers, like all social scientists, is that while they must hold to epistemological caution this does not warrant ontological shyness. Furthermore, critical realism’s return to ontology implies that ethnographers must be ethically serious. Ethnography, if it is to hold to its progressive inclinations, must be about something. Critical realism for ethnography pushes the field to see itself as more than a sociological practice. Rather, it is to be understood as a social practice for something: the universalizing of human freedom.

Article

David R. Cole

Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) was a French philosopher, who wrote about literature, art, cinema, other philosophers, capitalism, and schizophrenia. His wide-ranging oeuvre has begun to be considered seriously in education, because his ideas act as springboards for further elaboration and application in connected areas such as research, learning theory, early childhood education, curriculum and policy studies, and teacher education. Whilst it is impossible to track exactly how, when, and indeed if “Deleuze Studies in Education” will mature and progress to occupy a mainstream position in education, it is worth considering the influence of the French thinker as a mode of renewal and new thought. The questions that concern “Deleuze Studies in Education” therefore shift from positing thought from “the known” to “what can be done.” Deleuze’s solo work acts a basis for new thinking in the philosophy of education. His series of philosophical studies track and develop a new philosophy, that redraws Western concepts of the subject, knowledge, learning, and thought. The intent of this new philosophy is to open up fixed Western ideas to their international and historical counterparts and to produce a way of thinking that occupies a middle ground, disconnected from the dominant, intellectual empire building that has predominantly hailed from the West. Deleuze’s writing with the French intellectual activist, Félix Guattari (1930–1992), takes on a distinct shift and urgency away from the rewriting of the Western philosophical tradition until their last joint work called: “What is Philosophy?” and which presents a new philosophy that is sketched out in the second half of this book, and which deploys affect, percepts, concepts, and forms and functions, to move away from the ultimate horror of the present situation as they saw it: “commercial professional training.” “Deleuze Studies in Education” is deepened and reinvented through their dual work and is transformed into a mode of critical capitalist and environmental studies, which adds historical/subjective valence to how one understands current shifts in educational practice. Lastly, the specific oeuvre of Félix Guattari, which is often less investigated and focused upon in education than Deleuze, serves as a pressing and ethical engagement with theory that can be readily applied to issues such as environmental concerns, inequality, power, and activism. Guattari’s ideas are present as a lasting aspect of “Deleuze Studies in Education” because they demonstrate many of the links to practice that Deleuze theorized throughout his philosophy.

Article

Intersectionality is celebrated in education research for its capacity to illuminate how identities like race, gender, class, and ability interact and shape individual experiences, social practices, institutions, and ideologies. However, although widely invoked among educational researchers, intersectionality is rarely unpacked or theorized. It is treated as a simple, settled concept despite the fact that, outside education research, it has become in the early 21st century one of the most hotly debated concepts in social science research. Education researchers should therefore clarify and, where appropriate, complicate their uses of intersectionality. One important issue requiring clarification concerns the question: “Who is intersectional?” While some critical social scientists represent intersectionality as a theory of multiple marginalization, others frame it as a theory of multiple identities. Either choice entails theoretical and practical trade-offs. When researchers approach intersectionality as a theory of multiple marginalization, they contribute to seeking redress for multiply marginalized subjects’ experiences of violence and erasure, yet this approach risks representing multiply marginalized communities as damaged, homogenous, and without agency, while leaving the processes maintaining dominance uninterrogated. When scholars approach intersectionality as a theory of multiple identities, meanwhile, they may supply a fuller account of the processes by which advantage and disadvantage co-constitute one another, but they risk recentering Whiteness, deflecting conversations about racism, and marginalizing women of color in the name of inclusivity. A review of over 60 empirical and conceptual papers in educational research shows that such trade-offs are not often made visible in our field. Education researchers should therefore clarify their orientations to intersectionality: They should name the approach(es) they favor, make arguments for why such approaches are appropriate to a particular project, and respond thoughtfully to potential limitations.

Article

David Backer

“Ideology” has fallen out of favor as a term of art. Terms like “equity,” “bias,” “gap,” “discourse,” “norm,” various “isms,” “consciousness,” “experience,” and “policy” tend to appear in scholarly and mainstream education dialogue when it comes to social-political practices. Yet the term is important both historically and for the present day. After its first formal usage in the 18th century, intellectuals produced several concepts of ideology. Ideology transformed from a science of ideas to propaganda; from critiques of truth and falsity to necessary strategy; from a focus on consciousness to a focus on practice. These transformations impacted educational research, particularly in the postwar period during a renewed emphasis on schooling’s social context. Revisiting the various concepts of ideology, particularly ideology as a practice, is valuable for educators and scholars today.

Article

African philosophies of education are multifold, depending on the specific geographic location in which a particular African philosophy of education is advanced. In northern Africa, African philosophy of education is biased towards Muslim understandings of education, whereas in western Africa, African philosophy of education is mostly attuned to Francophone thinking. In eastern Africa, Anglophone thinking seems to dominate an African philosophy of education. The focus on African philosophy of education is guided by thinking in the southern African region. In the main, African philosophy of education in the southern African region of the continent is considered as a philosophical activity that aims to identify major socio-economic, environmental, and politico-cultural problems on the African continent, and simultaneously to examine the educational implications of such problems for teaching and learning in higher education. It can be construed, for instance, that a military dictatorship is a major political and social problem on the continent, which implies that any form of democratic governance would be undermined. An educational implication of such a problem is that deliberative engagement among university teachers and students would not be regarded as appealing for higher education, as such a practice would be considered incommensurable with dictatorial rule. Identifying any other major problems or dystopias—such as terrorism committed by Boko Haram in western Africa (a violent movement undermining any form of Western education); children being used as soldiers in central Africa; and drug trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa—by proffering reasons why the latter instances are problems, and then examining how educational practices will manifest, are tantamount to enacting an African philosophy of education.

Article

Decolonization is a historic process that picked up momentum in the second half of the 20th century, whereby several countries of the Global South in Asia, Africa, and Latin America successively gained independence from European colonial rule and became sovereign modern nation-states. However, territorial independence from an external ruling power alone could not bring an end to all the social, political, and economic problems ushered in by hundreds of years of imperialism. This fact was realized long before independence from colonial rule by Rabindranath Tagore within the context of British colonial India. Hence, even before territorial and political decolonization, Tagore sought to decolonize the minds of people through education reform by first setting up his own school in 1901 and then establishing Visva-Bharati University in 1921. In fact, Tagore, who is the author of the national anthems of two independent modern South Asian nation-states, never saw independent India. He died in 1941 as a British colonial subject, six years before the independence of India from colonial rule in 1947. While many indigenous intellectuals of his era adopted violent and nonviolent methods to fight against British imperialism, Tagore devoted much of his adult life to the pursuit of freedom through pedagogic reforms. Tagore’s philosophy and practice of pedagogic reform sought to “decolonize education” in British colonial India. Tagore’s own writings on education beginning in 1892 reveal that his philosophy and practice to “decolonize education” was based on the memory and critical reflections on his own experiences as a student in mainstream schools during the British colonial era in India. Tagore’s philosophy of education, institutionalized through his decolonizing pedagogic reform work in his school and university at Bolepur, Shantiniketan, were concrete responses of a highly creative and critical-thinking indigenous intellectual to the problems of the mainstream education system during his time. Hence, studying Tagore’s perspective on “decolonizing education” can provide us with a deeper understanding of the educational problems posed by British imperialism in India, as well as the evolution of these problems in the colonial metropole, which became global in nature through the process of colonialism, as has been argued by a number of academics, including modern British historian Michael Collins and postcolonial Indian academic Sanjukta Dasgupta.

Article

Karin Murris, Kaitlin Smalley, and Bridget Allan

Conceptions of child and childhood have been variously (re)constructed by adults throughout history, and yet systematic questioning of the epistemological, ontological, political, and ethical assumptions informing these conceptions remains a relatively new field of academic inquiry. The concepts of child and childhood are philosophically problematic because, although children can be biologically and physiologically categorized, the normative values attached to these categories matter politically and ethically in educational practices and theory. The philosophy of childhood is therefore concerned with the following: questions about adults’ claims to knowledge of childhood and child subjectivity; the limitations and implications of the notion of “development” structuring theoretical claims about child and childhood; the construction of various alternative and intersecting figurations of child; the examination of the socio-historical, philosophical, and biological bases of these figurations, and their ethico-political implications—particularly for education. Furthermore, more radically, contemporary postcolonial, postdevelopmental, and posthuman theorists deconstruct traditional adult–child binaries by claiming that understanding the logic of childhood is reflected in, and socio-historically situated in relation to, colonialism. This same logic used to justify the silencing and structural oppression of children is applied to Indigenous peoples in settler-colonial states. Postdevelopmental conceptions of childhood problematize the very notion of development on which psycho-social scientific theories of childhood depend. By drawing on disciplines other than academic philosophy, in particular childhood studies and early childhood education, a wide range of conceptions of child and childhood can be mapped that shape educational theories and practices in all phases of education: “developing child,” “scientific child,” “psycho-social child,” “subhuman child,” “superhuman child,” “philosophical child,” “postdevelopmental child,” “savage child,” and “posthuman child.”

Article

This article broaches what can sometimes be seen as the suppression of the female voice, sometimes the repression of the feminine. To address these matters involves the reconsideration of the political discourse that pervades education and educational research. This article is an attempt to disclose inequity in apparently equitable space, through the acknowledgment of the voice of disequilibrium. It proposes to re-place the subject of philosophy, and the subject of woman, through an alternative idea of the feminine voice in philosophy. It tries to reconfigure the female voice without negating its fated biological origin and traits, and yet avoiding the confining of thought to the constraints of gender divides. In terms of education, it shall argue for the conversation of justice as a way of cultivating the feminine voice in philosophy: as the voice of disequilibrium. This is an occasion of mutual destabilization and transformation of man and woman, crossing gender divides, and preparing an alternative route to political criticism that not only reclaims the rights of women but releases the thinking of men and women, laying the way for a better, more pluralist, and more democratic politics. The feminine voice can find a way beyond the dominance of instrumental rationality and calculative thinking in the discourse on equity itself. And it can, one might reasonably hope, have an impact on the curriculum of university education.

Article

Jessica A. Heybach

The intersection of aesthetics and education offers space to understand how the study of perception, sensuous experience, beauty, and art provide the potential for learning and human emancipation. These domains have been persistently understood as necessary to cultivate democratic societies by shaping citizens’ moral, ethical, and political sensibilities. Aesthetics is often considered a dangerous and paradoxical concept for educators because it offers the means for both political transformation as well as political manipulation through disruptive, engrossing, all-consuming aesthetic experiences. In short, aesthetic experiences are powerful experiences that make one think, interpret, and feel beyond the certainty of facts and the mundane parts of existence. Aesthetics offers humans the means to heighten our awareness of self and other. Thus, the study of aesthetics in education suggests there is a latent potential that exists in learning beyond simply acquiring objective information to logically discern reality. Defining aesthetics, a complicated task given the nature of aesthetics across disciplines, is achieved by taking the reader through three perennial debates within aesthetics that have education import: the trouble with human passions, the reign of beauty, and aesthetic thought beyond beauty. In addition, the influence of aesthetics and imagination on experience and education as articulated most notably by Maxine Greene and John Dewey offers the obvious entry point for educators seeking to understand aesthetics. Looking beyond the philosophical literature on aesthetics and education, new directions in aesthetics and education as seen in the growing literature traced through the study of cognition, behavior, biology, and neuroscience offers educators potentially new sites of aesthetics inquiry. However, the overwhelming trajectory of the study of aesthetics and education allows educators to move beyond the hyper-scientific study of education and alternatively consider how felt experiences—aesthetic experiences—often brought about when fully engaged with others and one’s environment, are sites of powerful learning opportunities with moral, ethical, and civic consequences.

Article

Peter Nelson

Fostering self-direction in students has long been an aim for both educators and parents as they fear the potentially coercive influence of peer pressure and the many sources that compete to influence what we think and what we do. These fears have motivated educational philosophers to explore the contours of what such self-direction or autonomous thought and action entails on the demands of individual thinking and behavior but also on the types of educational environments needed to foster its emergence. Likewise, educational philosophers have also argued the merits of promoting autonomy in public schools out of fears that some forms of autonomy may limit the ranges of conceptions of the good life that are available to students; many are concerned that promoting autonomy may inspire students to reject family and community ways of life. Despite those concerns, drawing upon thought that traces back to the ancient Greeks, contemporary educational philosophers continue to debate the contours of and justifications for an autonomy promoting education.