Theses Doctoral

With Ithaca on My Mind: In Search of the Senses for Teaching

Cavallari Filho, Roberto

My main goal while writing this dissertation became to mark off a differend between John Dewey’s philosophy of education and a couple of its contemporaneous Pragmatist readers, on the one hand, and Jean-François Lyotard’s postmodern condition and a couple of its contemporaneous readers sympathetic to the French philosophy of difference, on the other. The Kantian sublime feeling is the pivotal point to establish a differend here between these two traditions. I hope to show the reader the possibility that this differend has to become a litigious situation in educational research. Therefore, the practical impact of this dissertation derives from the sense that a litigious situation shapes the understanding of philosophical discourses organized to produce practical knowledge to form teaching practices in teaching preparation. This dissertation thus creates the space to debate the role of the teacher/-educator in Colleges of education. In this case, the permanent Hegelian deposit in Dewey’s thought, his own trajectory along the historical lines of the construction of the American Bildung, and ultimately his theory of communication are crucial in the establishment of a litigious situation in educational research between contemporaneous thinkers in the field of philosophy and education. In the Preface, I thematize the infancy of a voice that precedes language in relation to the Kantian sublime feeling in the postmodern condition. That the work of thematizing this voice based on the sublime condition is lacking in John Dewey’s philosophy of education is the problem this thesis addresses. In the Introduction, I contextualize the main sources in my attempt to interpret the permanent Hegelian deposit in Dewey’s thought and his trajectory along the historical lines of the construction of the American Bildung. I also contextualize the main source in my attempt to interpret a voice based on the sublime condition. Hence, chapter one presents the renewal of Dewey’s philosophy of education. It was based on Dewey’s reconstruction of Hegel’s absolute idealism. In this case, I focus on Dewey’s metaphysical concerns on judgment’s movements, meaning creation, and social participation as they find a domicile in the American Bildung as a mode of education whose purpose is growth. I conclude this chapter by pointing out to a litigious situation in educational research based on the critique that postmodernists fail to achieve growth in experience because they linger too long to avoid consummation once they juxtapose consummation and foundationalism. In chapter two I focus on the value that Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman attribute to Dewey’s theory of communication at the same time I establish another litigious scene in educational research by criticizing their positions, which are rooted on the notion of unity of experience in Dewey. The critique is based on the works of Gert Biesta and Pedro Pagni. The point of tension is twofold: the formers’ assumption that postmodernists lack a concern for the public to dwell in the arts; and the latter’s accusation that Dewey’s theory of communication implies that language become an antecedent element in experience and, thus, outside of experience. I also introduce the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. She became crucial in this dissertation because she allowed me to connect Dewey and Lyotard. She criticizes Dewey’s appreciation for the problems of men as one detached from the reality of certain groups who had suffered the most particularly because of the advancements of democracy, science and technology. Meanwhile, Lyotard criticizes Arendt for rushing through the sublime feeling in her lectures on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. In chapter three I finally debate in more depth Lyotard’s reading of the Kantian sublime and the sense of terror of abandonment. I also introduce his reading of sensus communis in Kant, the distinction between sublime feeling and the aesthetic of sublime, and the notions of different and inhuman in education. I conclude by addressing the question regarding professional knowledge and skills and the role of the curriculum in what Lyotard means by philosophizing, which is rooted in the sublime feeling and the condition of the infancy of thought in the search for a voice in teachers preparation.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Laverty, Megan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 11, 2015