Emancipation, Violence, Cosmopolitan Engagement: the Inner Paradox of Education



The concept of education in Western culture is grounded in the ideas of emancipation and freedom, on the one hand, and on the idea of self-improvement, on the other hand. Te will to go beyond, to overcome ourselves and “to get more” has more than a “pacifc meaning,” so to speak. To “overcome ourselves” can easily drift into the will to go beyond and to overcome others by abusing and denying them. Contemporary with this awareness we attend to a deep crisis of the Enlightenment’s education project, which demonstrates its cultural belonging and internal contradictions. Tus, as educationalists, we are called to work within a problematic notion of truth. On one hand, to educate entails a strong concept of truth, choosing a way to act, and bearing the responsibility for our choice. On the other hand, we work with a weak concept of truth: truth is conceived as openness, as sense and meaning, as an indescribable work towards changing. Te aim of this contribution is to provide some groundwork to argue how these paradoxes can be used as a picklock to open and look inside our ideas about education and democracy, considering others from a diferent perspective. In recognising that our grounding is only one possibility that we have chosen, we can enhance a real dialogue among human beings by attempting to overcome the inner violence of our culture and fostering a cosmopolitan engagement grounded in diferences.

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