By C. Joldersma

ISBN-10: 1137415495

ISBN-13: 9781137415493

ISBN-10: 1349491772

ISBN-13: 9781349491773

Joldersma applies Levinas's ethics systematically to the commonplaces of schooling - instructing, studying, curriculum, and associations - and elucidates the position of justice and accountability and the that means of calling and thought in schooling.

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Extra resources for A Levinasian Ethics for Education’s Commonplaces: Between Calling and Inspiration

Sample text

To be a learner is to become a rational master over what has been restrictive; to be a learner is to become autonomous. Much of the autonomy discussion comes from a third-person perspective. A neutral observer, neither the teacher nor the student, describes the student in these terms. This is not a description from the student’s perspective, but a third-person description of a socially approved, externally imposed desired effect in the student. I would like to shift the perspective, to the first-person perspective of the student to address the question of autonomy and being a learner.

The notion of a ‘time unforeseeable’ is meant to protect the enigma of inspiration from misuse. The subject might mistake its rational vision for the future with the transcendent dimension that inspires. In this mistaken identity, hope can be co-opted into a clear picture that is rationally planned, a blueprint for action. This domesticates hope. Such is often the clear-visioned, blueprinted domestication of hope, in which bringing about future perfection becomes a site of current violence because we might see its arrival by means of a blueprint that enacts our own all-too-clear visions.

The larger context of a student’s inspiration for learning is the call to responsibility for concrete action in the world. This call, coming from beyond the teacher, is an obligation that orients the student outward, beyond the school walls and away from his or her own autonomy and self-interest. The call to struggle for justice comes to the students via what Levinas names the third party or the “other others” (Levinas, 1969, p. 212). Given that the teacher is the immediate other for the learner, for the student there are others who are not the teacher, who also function as other in Levinas’s sense.

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A Levinasian Ethics for Education’s Commonplaces: Between Calling and Inspiration by C. Joldersma


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