Engagement as dialogue: Camus, pragmatism and constructivist pedagogy

Education as Philosophies of Engagement, 44th Annual Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, Kingsgate Hotel, Hamilton, New Zealand, 22–25 November 2014 (2015)
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In this paper we will explore how Albert Camus has much to offer philosophers of education. Although a number of educationalists have attempted to explicate the educational implications of Camus’ literary works (Denton, 1964; Oliver, 1965; Götz, 1987; Curzon-Hobson, 2003; Marshall, 2007, 2008; Weddington, 2007; Roberts, 2008, 2013; Gibbons, 2013; Heraud, 2013; Roberts, Gibbons & Heraud, 2013) these analyses have not attempted to extrapolate pedagogical guidelines to develop an educational framework for children’s philosophical practice in the way Matthew Lipman did from John Dewey’s philosophy of education, which informed his philosophy for children curriculum and pedagogy. To this end we offer comparisons and contrasts between Camus and the pragmatist educational discourse centred on communities of philosophical inquiry (or, more broadly, collaborative philosophical inquiry). In particular we focus on the phenomenology of inquiry, namely, that “inquiry must begin with a problem, question, or doubt and must aim at a solution or resolution, both of which are genuinely felt—something in which the inquirer actually has a stake” (Gregory & Granger, 2012: 13). We conclude that what Camus calls lucidity has implications for the notion of reconstruction, prominent in Dewey’s thoughts on education, and central to Lipman’s focus on philosophy functioning educationally.

Author Profiles

Gilbert Burgh
University of Queensland
Simone Thornton
The University of Wollongong


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