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Robi Kroflič Legitimacy of ethical norm and (dis)continuity of pedagogy of modernity Plato and Aristotle dispute on deductive and inductive normativity.

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Presentation on theme: "Robi Kroflič Legitimacy of ethical norm and (dis)continuity of pedagogy of modernity Plato and Aristotle dispute on deductive and inductive normativity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Robi Kroflič Legitimacy of ethical norm and (dis)continuity of pedagogy of modernity Plato and Aristotle dispute on deductive and inductive normativity Rafael - School of Athens (Vatican )

2 Aims of this presentation to test a hypothesis, that postmodern pedagogy remains a normative science despite Lyotard thesis about the fall of the great narratives of modern philosophy; to show that even in enlightenment philosophy we can find different concepts of normativity, of normative agency on the field of moral acting, and of ethical responsibility; to show how new understanding of normativity in Levinas philosophy opens possibilities for the development of inductive educational concept, which is harmonized with Lyotard critic of modernity and with basic values of postmodern ethics; to point out the roots of the turn between deductive and inductive educational approach in Greek Antiquity.

3 Rationale of enlightenment philosophy the very rationale of the modern understanding of education is founded on the humanist idea of a certain kind of subject who has the inherent potential to become self-motivated and self- directing consequently the main task of education became that of bringing out this potential so that subjects could become fully autonomous and capable of exercising their individual and intentional agency

4 Diversity of enlightenment philosophy different answers to two, for pedagogy crucial questions: – What forms the anthropological basis of autonomy? – How can we support a development of autonomy of individual by educational endeavors?

5 What forms the anthropological basis of autonomy? Kant - categorical imperative and human will Rousseau - human soul, will, and rationality Hume - human sympathetic emotions as the basis of compassion While Kant’s and Rousseau’s ideas became the basis for the development of psychology and pedagogy in nineteenth and the beginning of twentieth century, Hume’s concept of sympathetic emotions started to seriously influence psychological and pedagogical ideas in last three decades by the discovery of importance of pro-social and moral emotions for human agency.

6 How can we support a development of autonomy of individual? Kant - autonomy can be developed through strict discipline and cultivation of human understanding Rousseau - strict discipline causes rebellion of youngsters so moral education should be founded on control over the child, on the construction of educational environment where the child has as little as possible opportunity to chose social contacts or activities that we believe are not good for him, and on indirect influence of educator’s personality Hume - didn’t leave us strong pedagogical cues how to cultivate sympathy as a natural communication of passions from person to person

7 Enlightenment ideas and pedagogical paradigms authoritarian – permissive conceptual dichotomy, that was developed from thirties in twentieth century according to the methodical discrepancy between Kant and Rousseau more detailed answers about the normative role of a parent or a teacher who want to foster empathic and compassionate virtues of a child can not be found earlier than in late sixties in M. Hoffman approaches on so called inductive discipline

8 On normative character of postmodern pedagogy logical and scientific reason: teaching and learning are intentional activities so it is logical that recognizing supposed intentions and educational goals should be the basis of educational planning political and economical reason: if education is a common societal cost (of the tax-payers) and also an intervention into human being, then citizens have the right to know for what reasons and effects they give their money humanistic (ethical) reason: when according to the Declaration on human rights education becomes a primarily right of parents, then a state should get the permission to have influence under the children minds from their parents according to their agreement about aims, content, and methods of education

9 Conclusion Despite Lyotard thesis about the fall of great narratives of enlightenment philosophy which have defined basic goals of education, and despite “an emphasis on the process of (moral) education which is more important than a product, postmodern pedagogy should not deny the importance of clear definition of telos – at least basic system of common values” as goals of education as intentional activity. (Medveš 1991) But the answer to the question, if ethical reasons of the enlightenment period are today still strong enough for legitimizing the right to educate a person in a public space/institution, is not so easy to take…

10 On normative character of postmodern ethics – E. Levinas His basic idea about radical heteronymous character of ethical act is a concrete example of denial of Kant’s ethical ideal (autonomous morality): “…the reciprocity of this respect (between two persons, R. K.) is not an indifferent relationship, such as serene contemplation, and it is not the result, but the condition of ethics. It is language, that is, responsibility. Respect attaches the just man to his associates in justice before attaching him to the man who demands justice.” ( Levinas, The I and the Totality (1954))

11 Open questions… If Kant has already recognized an importance of respectful attitude to associate person, where is the new dimension of Levinas ethics? Is it just in pointing out a new priority of ethical demands (the principle of respect before the principle of justice)? Or does Levinas anthropology open radical new insights into normative character of pedagogy?

12 Levinas ´ s most important ideas for postmodern pedagogy If Kantian autonomous subject can be a responsible agent of morality in a stable (protestant) culture, where all rational persons can rich the agreement on just relations, Levinasean moral agents meet associates as unique persons, different from themselves. Importance of this turn for accepting cultural differences (the case of prohibition of Muslim scarves and the protest against caricatures of Mohamed).

13 The Other of E. Levinas is “infinitely unknowable”, but anyway susceptibility to absolute difference defines how we relate to each other; even more, learning from the unknowable Other tells us who we really are. In principles of pedagogy of listening the emphasis on dialog with children or youngsters is “giving value to the other” and opening ourselves to the narrative of the other in a dialog, that becomes transformative for my own identity. So classical enlightenment conception of normativity where a teacher as autonomous subject is an ultimate criteria of truth and morality, and otherness is an obstacle of a communication, can not be accepted anymore as epistemological basis of educational dialog.

14 Even Levinas admits that in life there are situations when meeting with other’s face as ultimate ethical criteria becomes impossible. In concentration camp the executioner of evil calls for violence and no longer has a Face. So, “…there is a certain measure of violence necessary in terms of justice (that must be regulated by a state). But, on the other hand, it is in terms of the relation to Face … that we can speak of the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the state. A state in which the interpersonal relationship is impossible, …is a totalitarian state. So there is a limit to the state.” (Levinas, Philosophy, Justice, and Love (1982))

15 Conclusion What changes with Levinas ethics is the conviction that the spirit of human rights and living in just and caring community can be strengthened more successfully with the emphasis on respectful relation to the other’s face than with models of disciplining and cultivating moral reasoning of autonomous subject. This methodical turn is developing in the most clear and applicable form in the concept of inductive moral education.

16 Inductive discipline Express our disapproval of the child’s act and indicate implicitly or explicitly that the act is wrong and that the child has committed an infraction; Call attention to the victim distress and make it salient to the child; Point up the role of the child’s action in causing that distress, what creates the condition for feeling empathy-based guilt, which is a feeling of intense disesteem for oneself for wrongfully harming another

17 Inductive discipline – theoretical rationale existence of guilt in early childhood prior to solution of Oedipal crisis (S. Tood) importance of sympathetic distress and pro-social emotions like compassion, indignation, and empathic guilt for moral reasoning and acting (K. Kristjansson) Empirical approaches confirmed that inductive discipline has statistically significant impact on faster development of empathy and pro-social attitudes in children if we compare this impacts with “Kohlbergian” authoritative-assertive discipline practices (Hoffman, Gibbs, Eisenberg)

18 From inductive discipline to a new educational paradigm Inductive educational paradigm should include: – A profound anthropological basis – A new definition of basic educational goals (and therefore a new concept of pedagogical normativity) – A new definition of active role of educator – Principles of a new educational methodic

19 Anthropological basis of inductive educational paradigm Equal importance of pro-social emotions as well as cognitive competencies for morality (development of respectful and ethical mind) Developmental priority of personal competencies for morality, based on empathic guilt Importance of relational goods and virtues, like love and friendship

20 Basic educational goals in inductive educational paradigm A new understanding of moral responsibility as respectful ethical response to an existential call, as personal commitment to respectful being and acting, and as care for our life mission and consistent identity, instead of responsibility toward societal norms and ethical principles Priority of respectful relationship before ethical principle of justice

21 Active role of educator in inductive educational paradigm A teacher has to demand child’s responsibility for the effects of his act, call attention to the victim distress, and make it salient to the child A teacher is no longer in a position of ultimate criteria of morality (calling attention to the ethical value, norm, or principle) His authority is therefore limiting (in at least epistemological dimension) and opening space for more independent child’s moral reasoning

22 Principles of an inductive educational methodic if ethical consciousness demands complex cognitive capacities, child is even in first years capable to step to relations of love and friendship, through which he/she develops relational response-ability and normative agency for pro-social activities in most authentic way; because personal encumbered relation may be harmful when empathic over-arousal, empathic bias, pity and paternalism arise, next step is development of the sense of respect toward concrete persons or activities; last step of moral education is to become aware of ethical principles and humanistic demands, concerning specially human rights and ecological values, and learn how to use them as basis for democratic negotiation in cases of interpersonal conflicts.

23 Rafael - School of Athens (Vatican ) Aristotle ethical approach – a basis for more realistic concept of moral education?


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