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In this symposium, we highlight the importance of critical engagement with philosophical traditions in philosophy of education. On one hand, it is important to critique the exclusionary nature of canons of knowledge that have shaped both philosophy and education; on the other, we believe it is important to acknowledge that our thinking, as well as the thinking of philosophers of education before us, is undeniably and indelibly marked by these traditions. Framed by Jacques Derrida’s reflections on the “figure of the philosopher” and Michael Naas’s conception of “taking on the tradition,” David Burns invites us to revisit the Stoic conception of character as a counterpoint to current discourses of character education in Canadian schools; David Waddington examines how Thomas Jefferson’s writings influenced John Dewey’s conception of democracy and democratic education; and Ann Chinnery proposes acknowledgement of intellectual indebtedness as an essential scholarly disposition, looking specifically at the “difficult inheritance” of Emmanuel Levinas’s debt to Martin Heidegger.
Hermeneutic phenomenology is a research method used in qualitative research in the fields of education and other human sciences, for example nursing science. It is a widely used method example in Scandinavia, and Van Manen is well known for his hermeneutic phenomenological method. In many studies the hermeneutic phenomenological method is inarticulate or ambiguous. Researchers generally lack a common understanding of what this method actually is. One reason for that is that the expression “hermeneutic phenomenological method” is contradiction in terms. Hermeneutics and phenomenology have their own distinct history. Hermeneutics and phenomenology as philosophical disciplines have their own distinct aims and orientations. Hermeneutic is orientated to historical and relative meanings. Phenomenology in Husserlian sense is orientated to universal and absolute essences. Martin Heidegger connects hermeneutics and phenomenology in very sophisticated manner as hermeneutical phenomenology and he provides a very specific definition of his brand of phenomenology. For Heidegger, hermeneutical phenomenology is the research of the meaning of the Being as a fundamental ontology. However, this kind of phenomenology is of no use for educational qualitative research.
The aim of this article is to explore the lifeworld of children as they experience everyday conventional situations where proper behaviour is expected and to understand the significance of the social convention to the pedagogical relation between adult and child. Based on interviews with adults recalling pedagogical episodes of handshaking, waiting, and thanking someone, we describe and interpret narrative examples by the light of Continental phenomenological pedagogy. Including children in the traditions of a society by exposing them to situations where conventional behaviour and adherence to social norms are expected is an unavoidable ingredient of pedagogical practice. Adults often expect children to adapt to social conventions simply by being introduced to them, and at the same time as adults we are somehow prevented from seeing the meaning of the situation for the child by our grown-up-ness and the conventional quality of the situation. The socialization of children, including the transfer of conventionally proper behaviour from one generation to the next, introduces ethical and pedagogical dilemmas. We suggest that although social conventions of proper behaviour are desirable and important factors of socialization for the child, the social convention itself can be a pedagogical impasse that anticipates homogeneity and assimilation and renders difficult a pedagogically caring practice.
In a globalized world where the traditional, the modern, and the postmodern increasingly meet, there is a growing need for understanding, particularly of views different from our own. In this paper, I want to explore the concept of epistemological multilingualism and its value to scholarship, advancing the notion that epistemological multilingualism—the ability to respect and understand multiple epistemic standpoints—emerges out of a postmodern, integral perspective which sees the reality of several epistemological frameworks, as well as the ability to understand, learn from, and even to contribute to the development of those frameworks. I examine the dialogical capacities that contribute to epistemological multilingualism, and conclude that epistemological multilingualism can play a vital role in a world of education where differing worldviews manifest within the same classroom and the lives of the learners with whom we work.