Theses Doctoral

The Possibility of Philosophy in Schools: Jacques Rancière and Community of Philosophical Inquiry

Davis, Jessica Jean

Responding to growing efforts to bring philosophy into K-12 schools in the U.S., this dissertation takes up pedagogical and political concepts used by Jacques Rancière in order to reflect on the motivating principles and limitations of bringing philosophy to schools. Rancière critiques schooling as a mechanism by which socio-economic inequality is justified and argues that academic philosophy, following the rationalist tradition attributed to Plato, is in fact complicit in this justificatory process. Given his staunch position, it might seem that it is impossible to implement philosophy in schools using Rancièrian principles. I argue that there is a practice of philosophy in schools to which Rancière may be sympathetic on a theoretical level. In order to support my position, the principle aim of this work is to provide evidence that Rancière’s works reflect specific critiques and alternative values of both schooling and philosophy that are also represented in the principled pedagogical practice of community of philosophical inquiry (CPI). I begin to think through the possibility of CPI in new and existing schools, as well the way that the notion of possibility itself figures into this line of inquiry. My thesis is that CPI is the philosophical practice most appropriate for schools given the critiques and alternative values of schooling and philosophy shared by Rancière and CPI, but that Rancière may help to inform the way the practice is implemented.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Laverty, Megan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 25, 2019