Educational Philosophy and ‘New French Thought’

A forthcoming issue of Educational Philosophy and Theory, parts of which are available online now, has a series of articles on the topic of educational philosophy and ‘New French Thought’. The editors David R. Cole and Joff P.N. Bradley take their cue from the theorists covered in Alexander R. Galloway’s 2010 lectures on ‘French Theory Today: An Introduction to Possible Futures’, which included Catherine Malabou, Bernard Stiegler, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Quentin Meillassoux and Francois Laruelle:

This special edition of Educational Philosophy and Theory takes the ideas and philosophical constructions of these thinkers and others and applies them to education.

The issue includes Cole on Laruelle and educational non-philosophy, two articles by Bradley and Anna Kouppanou on Stiegler, technology and education, two articles by Emile Bojesen and Jasmine B. Ulmer on Malabou, brain plasticity and education, and – of interest given our forthcoming reading group on Sedgwick’s ‘Pedagogy of Buddhism’ – Sevket Benhur Oral on Quentin Meillassoux’s speculative materialism and Zen Buddhism for educative purposes. If any of these authors, texts or ideas raised in the issue are of interest to the group, we might think about suggesting some of the works involved for future reading.

The Returned

Finally, Cole and Bradley’s introduction makes a significant claim about the importance of theory for research in education:

One could argue that the greatest challenge for the philosophy of education today is to stake its claim amidst the increasing prominence and competitive nature of evidence-based and profit-motivated theories of education. On one side of this point of contention are philosophies of education that owe their heritage to the analytical and empiricist mindset, on the other are those that may be derived from what can be broadly termed continental philosophy and the specific endeavour to develop theory. In the contemporary, globalised situation, where the philosophy of education needs to be appropriate for non-European and non-‘developed’ milieux, the demand to find alternative modes of enquiry is more palpable than ever. It is to ‘New French Thought’ that the editors of this special edition have turned in the hope that some of the tensions, dilemmas and complexities of the current sociopolitical situation may be understood, and a new philosophy of education may be fashioned from an array of contemporary French thinkers. It is anticipated that the new thought that one may derive from France will not allay the clamour for evidence-based claims in education, but it could open up novel avenues for thought, whereby the impasse to non-thought and the obsequy of the philosophy of education may be mitigated.

The introduction can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131857.2015.1044300

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