Spinoza as a Philosopher of Education


In at least two senses, it might be risky to put 'Spinozism' and 'education' together in the title for a paper. First, it is risky because, as any philosopher of education might quickly agree, education is something we believe that we should keep away from any kind of "ism". Second, it is also risky because Spinoza is at most a historical figure whose ideas, no matter how great are they, cannot give us what we actually need to meet the challenges of education in the 21th century. I want to argue that these two reservations though they are legitimate, are not valid in the case of Spinoza. Despite the fact that Spinoza is indeed a historical name and that there is 'ism' added to this historical name, the very nature of his philosophy may still make Spinoza a perfectly relevant point of departure for the philosophy of education. Some of the widely discussed issues in philosophy of education, for instance, such tensions as value neutrality versus value imposition, self-interest versus responsibility or intrinsically versus instrumentally valuable aims of education, I argue, can be resolved and transcended through a Spinozistic understanding of reality. Besides, provided that Spinoza is not to be taken as a past master but rather as a possibility-to-come, education can come to be conceived as a non-totalitarian and open-ended search for truth. This paper aims to explore what I call these non-totalitarian hopes for truth and their relevance to current problems of philosophy of education.

Author Information
Cetin Balanuye, Akdeniz University, Turkey

Paper Information
Conference: ECERP2016
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and Education

This paper is part of the ECERP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon