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ERIC Number: EJ1043646
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Can Personal Relationships Encourage Social Reform?
Philosophical Studies in Education, v45 p157-167 2014
This paper will consider whether Martin Buber's affirmation of relationships offers a means for people to cooperate in seeking social change. On the one hand, Buber determined that the essence of humanity was in the relationships people formed. On the other hand, he did not think that genuinely mutual relationships could fuel political movements. For Buber, genuine relationships were intensely personal and sharing them caused their quality to deteriorate. Despite the truth of this perspective, it seems there is some connection between the search for self-perfection as Buber described it and wider social reform. Three elements contribute to this thesis. One comes from the way Buber depended on his religious beliefs and his academic studies to direct the Zionist movement toward genuine human community. The second emerges in Buber's personal experiences. The third element comes from experiences of spiritual leaders, such as Gandhi, whose admirers imitated their commitment to personal perfection and brought about wider social change. The question of whether personal relationships can become a force for social reform is related to issues of appropriate pedagogical practices. Although Buber did not offer a set of practices teachers could follow to build a moral community or a moral classroom he did not consider rules for classroom practices to be unimportant. For Buber, a dependable classroom organization was an essential aspect of education. Nonetheless, he warned that it should not hinder teachers from helping students react to situations from their personal, internal sense of unity.
Descriptors: Interpersonal Relationship, Social Change, Cooperation, Religious Factors, Experience, Community, Philosophy
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://www.ovpes.org/journal.htm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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