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Becoming dialogue; Martin Buber's concept of turning to the other as educational praxis

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
My intention is to outline dialogue as Martin Buber’s ontological turning to the other through the development of particular dialogical virtues: an ontological praxis of dialogue. This outline substantiates dialogue as an important element of educational praxis insofar as it fosters the development of genuine relationships with others and with the world and the uncovering and creation of meaning through awareness of what is sacred in us, others, and the world. An ontological orientation of being turned to the other can be developed through the conscious act of turning as both a way of life and as educational praxis; the movement of turning to the other constitutes becoming dialogue. Buber’s work provides us with the specific details of the art of turning to the other which can help us navigate our ways into dialogue. I also consider why we might engage in dialogue: what reasons justify dialogue and what propels us to it. The dissertation consists of three parts: a discussion of the ontological orientation and why it is valuable to us, a discussion of the art of turning to the other, and a concluding discussion of the educational implications. I conclude with a discussion of the role of reflective study and artistic and contemplative practices in developing the life of dialogue, closing with a discussion of issues surrounding the inclusion of dialogue in education. The heart of this dissertation rests in a detailed examination of this turning to the other—how it manifests in the specific virtues of dialogue that I will outline. I suggest these virtues can be developed through the engagements of a conscious and committed practice of dialogue: an educational praxis. Over time these actions become established as a part of beingness: the life of dialogue. Using Buber’s phrasings, the dialogical virtues I include are: becoming aware; confirmation of the other; an empathic inclusion of the other; being present; the “holy insecurity”; the “unity of the contraries”; and a “synthesizing apperception.”
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Mamchur, Carolyn
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