Willed Forgetfulness: The Arts, Education and the Case for Unlearning

Studies in Philosophy and Education 32 (4):415-430 (2012)
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Established scholarship in arts education is invariably related to theories of development founded on notions of multiple intelligence and experiential learning. Yet when contemporary arts practice is retraced on a philosophical horizon, one begins to engage with other cases for learning. This state of affairs reveals art’s inherent paradox where the expectation of learning is substituted by forms of unlearning. This paper begins to approach unlearning through the tension between art and education, and more specifically through the dialectical relationship between education’s dialogic agonism and art’s negative antagonism. What is here being proposed as unlearning reflects a critique of the moral-pedagogical outlooks that are imposed on art where artworks are expected to tell stories of truth through their propensity towards the beautiful and the good. In re-reading experiential anticipation as a form of anamnesis through a process of negation and contradiction, unlearning is also located in forms of mimetic scoping by which art’s assumed pedagogical trajectory turns into the opposite of recollection: as an act of willed forgetfulness. This peculiar ‘movement’ from a state of learning to that of unlearning constitutes the basis for a special kind of pedagogical aesthetics where the challenges of criticality and laterality articulate a special ‘world’ where learning may well work backwards.



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Citations of this work

Art’s False “Ease”: Form, Meaning and a Problematic Pedagogy.John Baldacchino - 2013 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (4):433-450.
Response to Walter Gershon’s Review of Art’s Way Out.John Baldacchino - 2014 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 34 (1):109-113.

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References found in this work

Experience and education.John Dewey - 1938 - West Lafayette, Ind.: Kappa Delta Pi.
Democracy and Education.John Dewey - 1916 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
Experience and Education.John Dewey - 1939 - Philosophy 14 (56):482-483.
On phenomenology and social relations.Alfred Schutz - 1970 - Chicago,: University of Chicago Press.
Art and its objects: with six supplementary essays.Richard Wollheim - 1980 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Richard Thomas Eldridge.

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