Coming into life with education: definitions, difficulty and meaningfulness in conceptual aesthetics

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What do we mean by the word ‘education’? How do others know what we mean, when the term is under constant revision? Do we even need definitive answers in order to speak meaningfully of it? This paper attempts to explore the potential for education’s meaningfulness via an attentiveness to its ordinary usages. In order to justify the need to be attentive to the specific instance of use, I will explore the closing down of conceptual meaning represented by acts of definition. In taking a closer look at what definitions of education try to do when offering their articulations, I will follow a line of argument from Cora Diamond that definition and explanation of a term can constitute something of a deflection from the difficult “reality” of educational discourse, a reality that poses its own problems in turn, but also should not be ignored. Attending to education as a word that appears with particular meanings in particular instances reveals the richness of the various forms it can assume. I describe this as a conceptual aesthetics of education.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)12-25
JournalPhilosophical Inquiry in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021

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