Bedford Branch Seminar
This paper takes as its starting point some reflections on the audience for philosophy of education. In looking at what is at stake in the language that we use when discussing this issue, and at the distinction between philosophy of education, and philosophy for education, it offers a further way of thinking about the field: philosophy as education - or as educative. It finds this idea of philosophy as educative in Stoicism, particularly in the commitment to philosophical dialogue with the public in the works of Epictetus and Seneca. It traces similar commitments through Foucault’s reading of the Hellenistic phenomenon of care of the self, showing how dialogue with others is central to such care. The paper argues that these ideas raise questions about the public nature of philosophy, and about the educative possibilities of philosophical dialogue with others in communities. It makes the case that philosophy should not just be for the community - that is, undertaken to meet particular ends - but should be conceived of as a practice with communities, and so as a practice of care for the self, as educative. It concludes that philosophy with the community deserves critical attention from philosophers of education; if philosophical inquiry with the community has elicited a new audience for philosophy, then surely it should also have an audience within philosophy of education?
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