In the name of efficiency, the practice of education has come to be dominated by neoliberal ideology and procedures of standardization and quantification. Such attempts to make all aspects of practice transparent and subject to systematic accounting lack sensitivity to the invisible and the silent, to something in the human condition that cannot readily be expressed in an either-or form. Seeking alternatives to such trends, Saito reads Dewey’s idea of progressive education through the lens of Emersonian moral perfectionism (to borrow (...) a term coined by Stanley Cavell). She elucidates a spiritual and aesthetic dimension to Dewey’s notion of growth, one considerably richer than what Dewey alone presents in his typically scientific terminology. (shrink)
Exploring the possibilities of American philosophy from the perspective of translation, and in turn elucidating the dynamism and tension within American philosophy, this book invokes the idea of philosophy as translation as human transformation and presents a broader concept of translation as internal to the nature of language and of human life.
This book takes Stanley Cavell's much-quoted, yet enigmatic phrase as the provocation for a series of explorations into themes of education that run throughout his work - through his response to Wittgenstein, Austin and ordinary language ...
This paper offers a different approach to writing about oneself—Stanley Cavell's idea of philosophy as autobiography. In Cavell's understanding, the acknowledgement of the partiality of the self is an essential condition for achieving the universal. In the apparently paradoxical combination of the 'philosophical' and the 'autobiographical', Cavell shows us a way of focusing on the self and yet always transcending the self. The task requires, however, a reconstruction of the notions of philosophy and autobiography, and at the same time the (...) destabilising of our conceptions of self and language. Cavell seeks to achieve this through the idea of finding one's voice, understood as an autobiographical exercise. This necessitates both negotiation of the inheritance from the past and innovation for the future, initiation into the language community and deviation from it. What this amounts to, in ways that the paper seeks to explain, is a process of the self and language in translation. This is a sense of 'translation' that is broader than the conventional understanding of the term. Such a conception can, it is argued, exercise a therapeutic effect on the self, destabilising the myth of self-identity. The implications of this account for the contemporary vogue for narrative in educational research, as well as for classroom practice, are considered. (shrink)
This book explores the idea of translation as a philosophical theme and as an important feature of philosophy and practical life, in the context of a searching examination of aspects of the work of Stanley Cavell. Furthermore it demonstrates the broader significance of these philosophical questions for education and life as a whole.
We critically examine pragmatism's approach to skepticism and try to elucidate its certain limits. The central questions to be addressed are: whether “skepticism” interpreted through the lens of problem-solving does justice to the human condition; and whether the problem-solving approach to skepticism can do justice to pragmatism's self-proclaimed anti-foundationalism. We then examine Stanley Cavell's criticism of Dewey's “problem-solving” approach. We propose a shift from the problem-solving approach's eagerness for solutions to a more Wittgensteinian and Emersonian project of dissolution.
To cooperate by giving differences a chance to show themselves because of the belief that the expression of difference is not only a right of the other persons but is a means of enriching one's life experience, is inherent in the democratic personal way of life.It was on 9 February 1919 that John Dewey, surely a principal representative of what could count as American philosophy, set foot in Japan. As the above words indicate, Dewey's idea of democracy as a way (...) of life is based upon the principle of (and faith in) the idea of mutual learning from difference. He suggests that the understanding of the inner spirit of people in different cultures, those who live in a different universe than the one we are familiar.. (shrink)
The 15th Biennial Meeting of the International Network of Philosophers of Education was held from 17 to 20 August 2016, at the University of Warsaw. The conference theme was ‘Philosophy as Translation and the Understanding of Other Cultures’, and we take this as the title for this Special Issue of Ethics and Education. The articles included in this volume are representative of the dynamism of the conference, reflecting a diversity of initiatives and interventions in what might be thought of as (...) a process of mutual education among all the participants. This, we believe, is the product of the experience of translation: translation as a linguistic experience inseparable from human transformation, which involves the crossing of borders. The way they intersect and diverge itself embodies the processes and the product of translation played out in the conference. (shrink)
This article will highlight the distinctive role of Cavell in renewing a dawn of American philosophy. Following Emerson’s remark, ‘the inmost in due time becomes the outmost’, Cavell develops his distinctive line of antifoundationalist thought. To show how unique and valuable Cavell’s endeavor to resuscitate Emerson’s and Thoreau’s voice in American philosophy is, this paper discusses the political implications of Cavell’s Emersonian moral perfectionism. This involves a reconsideration of what measures justice and what justifies happiness. While Cavell is sometimes said (...) to be too personal and too subjective to be political, I shall argue that his Emersonian perfectionism, with its concomitant idea of the conversation of justice, is in fact thoroughly political and democratic. I shall illustrate this by examining his writing on a Hollywood film, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). The film shows vividly that happiness is a condition for achieving democracy from within. In conclusion, I shall propose that a readiness for the risk inherent in speech, rather than, say, acquiescing in received ideas or hiding behind the words of others, is at the heart of perfectionist education for globally minded citizens. (shrink)
In the context of contemporary nihilistic tendencies in democracy and education, Dewey’s pragmatism must respond to the criticism that it lacks a tragic sense. By highlighting the Emersonian perfectionist dimension latent in the concept of growth, this paper attempts to reveal a sense of the tragic in Dewey’s work—his humble recognition of the double nature of democracy as both attained and unattained. It is precisely the lack of this sense of the tragic that characterises contemporary nihilism. In resistance to this, (...) Deweyan growth points to a perfectionist education committed to the re–awakening of intensity of impulse. (shrink)
In the contemporary culture of accountability and the ‘economy’ of education this generates, pragmatism, as a philosophy for ordinary practice, needs to resist the totalising force of an ideology of practice, one that distracts us from the rich qualities of daily experience. In response to this need, and in mobilising Dewey's pragmatism, this paper introduces another standpoint in American philosophy: Stanley Cavell's account of the economy of living in Thoreau's Walden. By discussing some aspects of Cavell's The Senses of Walden (...) that suggest both apparent similarities and radical differences between Thoreau and Dewey, I shall argue that Cavell discovers rich dimensions of practice in Thoreau's American philosophy, ones that are overshadowed in Dewey's pragmatism: that he demonstrates another way of ‘making a difference in practice’. Cavell, as a critical interlocutor of Dewey, from within American philosophy, offers a way of using language in resistance to the rhetoric of accountability and in service to the creation of democracy as a way of life. I shall conclude by suggesting that the enriched tradition of American philosophy from Dewey to Cavell is to be found in their promotion of philosophy as education and education as philosophy. (shrink)
In the practice of education and educational reforms today ‘meritocracy’ is a prevalent mode of thinking and discourse. Behind political and economic debates over the just distribution of education benefits, other kinds of philosophical issues, concerning the question of democracy, await to be addressed. As a means of evoking a language more subtle than what is offered by political and economic solutions, I shall discuss Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea of perfectionism, particularly his ideas of the ‘gleam of light’ and ‘genius’, (...) as an alternative mode of thinking of human power. Through this Emersonian lens, a provocative shift will be made from meritocracy and ‘mediocracy’ to aristocracy. Emersonian aristocracy destabilizes balanced measures and prevailing discourse about fairness and justice, and makes us reconsider how to achieve a just society in democracy. As an educational implication, I shall propose the idea of citizenship without inclusion—a vision of education for a democratic society in which we learn to live as and with the Great Man. (shrink)
In 1921 John Dewey published an article on "mutual national understanding" based upon his real experience of encountering foreign cultures in Japan and China ("Creative Democracy" 228). The article echoes his democratic spirit of learning from difference beyond national and cultural boundaries. The vitality of his American philosophy and its potency in a global context are still evident today. Some of the recent research on Dewey is plain enough evidence of this (Hickman; Hansen). Neither fixed within national ground nor appealing (...) to any universalist cause in the process of continuing growth, Dewey encourages us to become cosmopolitan, going beyond cultural differences and national boundaries. By inheriting what .. (shrink)
How can we build a path from the binary of gender to the unity of common humanity? What kind of difference can the “different voice” of feminism make as a human voice? In this article, Naoko Saito argues that the way we talk about the difference of a “different voice” needs to be radically transformed. To envision a route to such a transformation, she explores an alternative possibility of feminism in the American transcendentalism of Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (...) First, Saito critically examines the politics of recognition and suggests a susceptibility to binary thinking in its approach. Second, as a way of transcending the binary mode of thinking, Saito introduces the humanist feminism of the nineteenth-century American transcendentalist Margaret Fuller. Third, as a way of elucidating the radicality of Fuller's transcendentalist feminism, Saito introduces the feminine voice of two male philosophers — Ralph Waldo Emerson and Stanley Cavell — as her conversational partners. By radically converting the way we talk about difference of voice, the transcendentalist feminism of Fuller, Emerson, and Cavell provides a third way that lies beyond the politics of recognition and care ethics. In conclusion, Saito proposes that the cultivation of the feminine subject requires an alternative political education that resists assimilation into political realism. This would realize our common humanity and, in its crossing of divides between men and women, would create democracy from within. (shrink)
This paper reconsiders the meaning of political action by way of a dialogue between Dewey, Thoreau, and Cavell. These philosophers demonstrate possibilities of political engagement and participation. Especially in response to the psychological and emotional dimensions of political crisis today, I shall claim that American philosophy can demonstrate something beyond problem-solving as conventionally understood in politics and that it has the potential to re-place philosophy in such a manner that politics itself is changed. First, I shall draw a contrast between (...) the ways of political action demonstrated respectively by Dewey and Thoreau. Some points of divergence are revealed within American philosophy. I shall then explore the partially different sense of political action implied by Cavell’s ordinary language philosophy, identifying this as the politics of acknowledgment. Finally, I shall propose the idea of challenging inclusion as an alternative political education for human transformation, taking this as a key to changing politics. (shrink)
This article will highlight the distinctive role of Cavell in renewing a dawn of American philosophy. Following Emerson’s remark, ‘the inmost in due time becomes the outmost’, Cavell develops his distinctive line of antifoundationalist thought. To show how unique and valuable Cavell’s endeavor to resuscitate Emerson’s and Thoreau’s voice in American philosophy is, this paper discusses the political implications of Cavell’s Emersonian moral perfectionism. This involves a reconsideration of what measures justice and what justifies happiness. While Cavell is sometimes said (...) to be too personal and too subjective to be political, I shall argue that his Emersonian perfectionism, with its concomitant idea of the conversation of justice, is in fact thoroughly political and democratic. I shall illustrate this by examining his writing on a Hollywood film, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The film shows vividly that happiness is a condition for achieving democracy from within. In conclusion, I shall propose that a readiness for the risk inherent in speech, rather than, say, acquiescing in received ideas or hiding behind the words of others, is at the heart of perfectionist education for globally minded citizens. (shrink)
Roger Ames’ keynote provides a powerful orientation for thinking about translation. Against the background of his outstanding research career as a mediator between East and West, he offers a clear vision of global cultivation through what he calls ‘cultural translation.’ Encouraging and insightful as Ames’ account of translation is, and although I am sympathetic to his attempt to do justice to the excluded, peripheral voice of philosophy in the canon of global culture, I would like to address some further philosophical (...) questions that such an approach might raise. In view of deep tensions between different cultures, we may perhaps encounter real occasions where the very viability of a culture ‘on its own terms’ is in question. I shall conclude that for the sake of realizing a better global culture, the aim that Ames encourages us to pursue, and his approach of justice to minority and to peripheral cultures, may require a dimension of thinking that goes beyond justice as conventionally understood. (shrink)
This is a brief introduction to the second part of a suite of papers on the theme ‘Political Education for Human Transformation’. Sceptical of the familiar and somewhat narrow frameworks for citizenship education, this East-West collaboration looks again at the very idea, and the possible means, of education for democracy. It examines the principle of an equality of voices as crucial to mature democratic citizenship, expanding on this through the idea of the ‘education of one's experience’. This is a matter (...) not of introspection but rather of turning attention outward—towards the language we use, the way others are treated, works of art and popular culture—in order to be more critically awake and to experience more fully how the world comes to light. We introduce papers by Alexis Gibbs and Léa Boman, which respectively consider the reflections of de Tocqueville on democracy in the United States and Emerson's essay ‘Self-Reliance’. Together, these essays contribute to an understanding of the manner in which we are always already implicated in structures of power. They offer a redefinition of political subjectivity. (shrink)
Beyond a monolingual mentality and beyond the language that is typically observed in the prevalent discourse of education for understanding other cultures, this article tries to present another approach: Stanley Cavell's idea of philosophy as translation . This Cavellian approach shows that understanding foreign cultures involves a relation to other cultures already within one's native culture. Foreshadowing the Cavellian sense of tragedy, Emerson's 'Devil's child' helps us detect the sources of repression and blindness that are hidden behind the foundationalist approach (...) to other cultures. The child represents the human condition in which the self and language are simultaneously in the process of translation. On the strength of this I propose a possibility of understanding other cultures that is crucially related to language education, one that can point us beyond monolingualism . Cavell's view of language and the self envisions a way of releasing, not repressing, the desire to express one's inner light as a crucial source of the revival of one's native culture from within, while at the same time cultivating an eye for the other, the stranger, who is already here within oneself. This is to find alterity in the human condition in terms of the translation that is inherent to language and the immigrancy of the self. (shrink)
Contemporary scenes of democracy and education exemplify a real scepticism about the point of political participation, and by implication about one's place in society in relation to others. What is called for is a recovery of desire per se ? of people's desire to say what they want to say and their desire to participate in the creation of the public. In response, this article examines Stanley Cavell's ordinary language philosophy. The way he reconstructs philosophy from the perspective of ordinary (...) language provides us with an alternative route to citizenship. Cavell's philosophy is turned towards our existential need to recover political passion, the mainspring of a desire to think that affirms humanity as necessarily political. And in the end this existential need dovetails with the need of the polis: that people speak in their own voice. That, I shall conclude, must be the basis of education for citizenship and political literacy. (shrink)
This article explores the possibilities of the antifoundationalist thought of Cavell with a particular focus on his idea of chance in aesthetic experience, as a framework through which to destabilize the prevailing discourse of education centering on freedom and control. I try to present the idea of chance in a particular way, which does not identify it with chaos or limitlessness but takes it rather as a condition of meaning-making, and more generally of a perfecting of culture, of a conscientious (...) sense of its further possibility and betterment. In Cavell's perfectionism, our aesthetic life models our political life, and such life requires our constant reengagement with our language. The cultural criticism this entails is to be understood not in merely negative terms but as itself a process of renewal. The interrelationship between the aesthetic, the political and language is at the heart of Cavellian education for self-knowledge, where this is understood as a matter of self-criticism. It connects, there.. (shrink)