Education as Praxis: A Corporeal Hermeneutical Account

Abstract

In common language, education is mostly understood as teaching. In this article, I would like to employ the hermeneutical philosophy of Merleau-Ponty to draw attention on that other etymological background of education: educere. Education as educere is about liberating or displacing our view instead of achieving a liberated view. In this sense, education does not refer to an immaterial relation of knowing or mastering (Erklären), but to a relation of being (Verstehen). I hope to demonstrate Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of the body can make us attentive to the importance of this hermeneutical and praxical character of education. After all, his thinking very aptly describes our relation to the world in terms of a corporeal being rather than in terms of a cognitive or abstract knowing. His conception of corporeality and of our being to the world (être-au-monde) deconstructs a mere formal and all too immaterial account of education.

Keywords: education, hermeneutics, Merleau-Ponty, Bildung, praxis, corporeality


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