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ERIC Number: EJ1000320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Democratic Visions/Pluralist Critiques: One Essential Conversation for 21st-Century Philosophy of Education
Narey, Daniel C.
Philosophical Studies in Education, v43 p152-161 2012
Democracy is often theorized as a form of political association grounded in shared meanings, common experiences, and convergent interests among the associated individuals. Because differences and divergences seem to stand in the way of commonality and consensus, the coexistence of a plurality of meanings, experiences, interests, languages, discourse communities, etc., is often seen as an obstacle to democratic progress. Against the grain of mainstream political thought, Sharon Todd has argued that the aims of democratic education would be better served if one were to start from a view of political life grounded in an "ontology of plurality"--a philosophical standpoint from which divergence and conflict are seen as manifestations of human uniqueness, not simply as failures of communication or understanding. Todd's work draws heavily upon the Continental tradition of political thought, particularly engaging with the writings of poststructuralist and postphenomenological philosophers. In this paper, the author attempts to provoke some productive discord by reading Todd against the background of pragmatist political thought, for which Dewey's vision of democracy-as-community remains the central figure. He then borrows from Colin Koopman's contemporary reinterpretation of the pragmatist tradition to offer a version of political pragmatism that is consonant with Todd's radical pluralism. His primary argument is that pluralist critiques--critiques in the name of "difference"--are essential to the vitality of democracy. The corollary to this argument is that democracy is emptied of vitality when it becomes merely a vision of communication without conflict, participation without dissent, community without strife--in other words, an abstract ideal with no referent among present or historical forms of political life. (Contains 26 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A