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ERIC Number: EJ1043764
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Mead, Habermas, and Levinas: Cultivating Subjectivity in Education for Democracy
Zhao, Guoping
Philosophical Studies in Education, v45 p113-124 2014
For several decades education has struggled to find a way out of the entanglement of modernity, the premises and assumptions under which modern education has operated. According to Robin Usher and Richard Edwards, modern education, as the "dutiful child of the Enlightenment," has been "allotted a key role in the forming and shaping of subjectivity and identity, the task of making people into particular kinds of subject," specifically, self realizing and self-directing modern subjects. Since the last century, however, the critique against the philosophy of the subject, including that from postmodern and poststructuralist thinkers and critical theorists, has been so devastating that for many philosophers, it is imperative that new approaches to the subject be introduced. In this paper the author provides a different structure of Levinas's subject. Levinas's philosophy is a theory of ethics as well as a theory of the subject. More importantly, a reinterpretation of Levinas's subject as open, ethical, and transformative and one that breaks away from its "essence" is vital for building a humane world where differences can be received and intersubjectivity can be established. Based on a critical analysis of the philosophies of both Levinas and Habermas, the author makes the case that a Levinasian subjectivity is necessary for the genuine democracy Habermas is striving for, and Habermas's communicative community is where Levinas's subject can be "present" without losing its openness and responsibility to the Other. The proposed synthesis intends to draw on the strengths and overcome the shortcomings of both. In education where students grow and come to presence in their encounters with different others and where they learn to become active citizens facing the political and ethical challenges of the world, the author suggests that such a synthesis allows education the critical role of cultivating a subjectivity that will make a genuine and vibrant democracy possible.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
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