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Philosophy for education: Towards human agency

Resource type
Date created
2006
Authors/Contributors
Author: Bai, Heesoon
Abstract
This paper considers the contribution of philosophy to education. First, a case is made that the fundamental goal of education is to cultivate human agency in the sense of being able to enact one’s freedom (as opposed to conditioned and habituated patterns of thinking, perception, and action) grounded in personal knowledge and ethics. This agency is named as ‘autonomy’ in this paper. Secondly, philosophy is conceived as an “art of living,” which has ancient roots in both the East and West. An argument is made that identifying philosophical activity as predominantly discursive and theoretical activity entrenches us in the “addiction” to conceptualization and blinds us to seeing that a map is not the territory. Human beings encompass the discursive as well as the non-discursive, theoretical as well as practical dimensions. Hence philosophy as an art of living must address all the dimensions. As an illustration, a number of exemplary philosophic arts pertaining to these practices are explored, including world-making through dialogue (Socratic); autobiographical experiment through philosophical writing (Nietzschean); human-making and self-transformation (Confucian); and mindfulness practice (Buddhist). The case is made that these practices combine to illustrate and demonstrate that philosophy is a practice devoted to the cultivation of fundamental human agency, namely autonomy.
Document
Published as
Bai, H. (2006). Philosophy for education: Cultivating human agency. Paideusis, 15(1), 7–19.
Publication title
Paideusis
Document title
Philosophy for education: Cultivating human agency
Date
2006
Volume
15
Issue
1
First page
7
Last page
19
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s) with limited rights held by the publisher of the final publication.
Permissions
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Language
English
Member of collection
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