Strange loops, oedipal logic, and an apophatic ecology: Reimagining critique in environmental education

Educational Philosophy and Theory 54 (3):228-237 (2022)
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There are currently two broad forms of critique undergirding environmental education theories: the first is one of subtraction from perceived reality as it seeks to reveal and remove illusions and ideologies, while the other takes the inverse form of adding to reality in the form of investigating how matter comes to matter. We suggest a third form that explores the paradoxical and uncanny aspects of ecological awareness and assumes an apophatic, self-negating form, which short-circuits and relinquishes all attempts at epistemological closure. In this third form, we are drawing on themes from dark ecology, which maintains that ecological awareness is decidedly ‘weird’ as it assumes the guise of an ‘Oedipal’ logic, a narrative trope in which the protagonist seeking to avoid a tragic fate finds out that avoidance itself is the realization of the tragedy. Using Timothy Morton’s work as a springboard, we unpack the import of such looping temporality onto the onto-epistemological frameworks of environmental education.



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