A Levinasian Ethics for Education’s Commonplaces: Between by C. Joldersma

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By C. Joldersma

Joldersma applies Levinas's ethics systematically to the commonplaces of schooling - instructing, studying, curriculum, and associations - and elucidates the function of justice and accountability and the which means of calling and proposal in schooling.

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If the process of knowing remains the core of what constitutes learning, then we must see this as grounded in the relations of speaking and listening, that is, in the ethical relations of inspiration by the other. In the first chapter I stated that education’s transcendent conditions concretely manifest itself in call and inspiration. 0006 Learning  one hand, is conditioned by normative obligation and, on the other, by motivating hope. Learning from another is an exercise in hope. Learning something new is, in a very real sense for the learner, cognitively impossible.

The subject on this view can be thought of as the one who possesses. The subject is a centered being, but one who actively maintains that independence by accumulating and controlling property within the sphere of one’s dwelling. The world is construed as potential support for, or possible threat to, one’s home life. This freedom has long been associated with the autonomous subject. Knowledge on this view is one such central possession—a kind of property we control. The words we often use to describe knowledge suggest this: we grasp an idea, retain information, and comprehend a concept.

To be affected by hope is to be affected with joy and delight. These positive affects are evidence of hope, of being inspired from a time unforeseen. The good of human flourishing is joyful. Although it is difficult to explain how such good might come about, the joy and delight embedded in the efforts of bringing about such good, of working toward change for the better, show evidence of transcendent animation, namely, the real possibilities for human flourishing here and now, despite how things seem.

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