Radical Intersubjectivity: Reflections on the “Different” Foundation of Education*


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Abstract

This article addresses the question how educational theory can overcome the assumptions of the tradition of the philosophy of consciousness, a tradition which can be seen as the foundation of the modern project of education. While twentieth century philosophy has seen several attempts to make a shift from consciousness to intersubjectivity (Dewey, Wittgenstein, Habermas) it is argued that this shift still remains within the humanistic tradition of modern thought in that it still tries to define, still tries to develop a theory about the human subject. Foucault's thesis of the end of man is interpreted as an attempt to move beyond humanism, an attempt motivated by a sincere concern for the humanity of the subject. Starting from the question as to who comes “after” the subject, several answers to this question, which all share an interest in the question as to where the subject comes into presence, are discussed (referring to the writings of Tschumi, Arendt and Levinas). In the concluding section it is argued that one way to move beyond the humanistic tradition of modern thought is to conceive of the subject in terms of responsibility and ethics (Levinas) and to conceive of the very task of theory in terms of justice, and not in terms of truth. This, so it is argued, should be the final concern for educational theory and curriculum theory.

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