Education and the Face of the Other: Levinas, Camus and (mis)understanding

Educational Philosophy and Theory 45 (11):1133-1149 (2013)
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Among the most neglected of Albert Camus? literary works is his play The misunderstanding. Composed while Camus was in exile in occupied France, and first performed on stage in 1944, The misunderstanding depicts the events that unfold when a man returns, without declaring his identity, to a home he left 20 years ago. Unrecognized, he is killed by his mother and sister for financial gain. This article draws on ideas from Emmanuel Levinas in identifying and discussing some of the key ethical and educational themes in the text. It is argued that the forms of misunderstanding evident in Camus? play mirror those exhibited in pedagogical institutions such as schools. The misunderstanding demonstrates that what is often missing in our communicative relations is careful attention to the Other. Camus does not offer us any easy way out when confronting the impossibility of fully knowing ourselves and others; instead, he shows that we must acknowledge the suffering this brings and take responsibility for it



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Citations of this work

The educational cost of philosophical suicide: What it means to be lucid.Simone Thornton - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (6):608-618.
Engagement as dialogue: Camus, pragmatism and constructivist pedagogy.Gilbert Burgh & Simone Thornton - 2015 - Education as Philosophies of Engagement, 44th Annual Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, Kingsgate Hotel, Hamilton, New Zealand, 22–25 November 2014.
Camus, habitat and the art of seeing.Aidan Hobson - 2017 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (13):1249-1258.

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References found in this work

Totality and infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh,: Duquesne University Press.
The Republic.Paul Plato & Shorey - 2000 - ePenguin. Edited by Cynthia Johnson, Holly Davidson Lewis & Benjamin Jowett.
Otherwise Than Being, or, Beyond Essence.Emmanuel Levinas - 1974 - Pittsburgh, Pa.: Duquesne University Press.
Otherwise than being: or, Beyond essence.Emmanuel Levinas - 1974 - Hingham, MA: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
The Sovereignty of Good.Iris Murdoch - 1970 - New York,: Schocken Books.

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