Critical Pedagogy for Life Projects

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Brand, Jeff
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Research Projects
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The work begins with a consideration of Gary Gregg's structuralist theory of self. I introduce a variety of concerns stemming from a number of basic conceptual assumptions at work in his ideas. These concerns serve to generally lay out a veritable outline of theoretical preoccupations that I attempt to address over the course of the work. Beyond Gregg's preliminary questions of selfhood, I introduce Hans Herbert Kogler's theory of a dialogical hermeneutics. Discussed in detail, the arguments trace out the possibility of what is otherwise a legitimate basis for the methodological challenge of mutual understanding. In conjunction, Axel Honneth's theory of ethics provides a recognitions-based theoretic on which to understand the moral imperatives of historical situations. Already, the reader will be able to see how the movement towards a rich notion of pluralistic dialogue confronts the problems of failed intersubjectivity. Returning to the hermeneutic concerns of Hans Georg Gadamerand the notion of "play," I discuss how we might understand a more dialogical self within an ethical context of historical dialogue. Only by understanding what is otherwise the normative choice inherent in any decision-making process can the basic prediscursive reality of intersubjectivity be appreciated. From such a realization, I suggest that the moral conditions of a culturally relative paradigm are subject to a shared understanding of what be discussed as "virtue," stripped, however, of many of its classical philosophical implications. If, at this point, we are willing to accept a dialogical means to negotiate the ethical conditions of intersubjectivity—realizing, however, that the prediscursive nature of reciprocity precludes formal methodology—then there is a need to realize that the nature of subjectivity (in an existential sense) is in acquiring the ability to participate in such a dialogue. In other words, if ethics presupposes that subjects are in a position to be conscious and critical of their situation, then the development of these individuals must be directed towards facilitating the process of dialogue. Dialogue by itself, however, carries an implicit belief in that nature of intersubjectivity. All of these elements will be synthesized and incorporated in what is intended to be a somewhat pragmatic conclusion. I offer a reconceptualization of education to illustrate just how important the learning process is to our identity formation, and consequentially, the challenge of dialogue. Therein lies the general thesis of the work.
iv, 197 p.
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