Category Archives: Volume 15, no. 3 (2020)

Neli in Paris

Pour un élargissement de l’éducation à la citoyenneté démocratique à travers la Bildung: Klafki défiant le 21ème siècle

The problem that I am addressing is the lack of social cohesion in contemporary democratic countries confronted with social and environmental challenges, in particular the lack of interest of citizenship education. As a basic conceptual framework, I dismiss political liberalism in the narrow Rawlsian sense and employ social-democratic republicanism, asserting with Durkheim that only by being considered a valuable comprehensive doctrine, i.e. a comprehensive civic religion, can deliberative democracy also become an individual civic obligation and vice versa. In continuation, the idea is that democratic citizenship education may benefit from introducing into the discussion the very rich German idea of Bildung. In his didactical works, Wolfgang Klafki argues for recognizing both the classical heritage of Bildung and the ideology critique of Critical Theory, substantializing educationally the argument for coping with contemporary societal problems through democratic formation, stressing both political and environmental sustainability. Klafki’s didactics is clearly political, relating explicitly to questions of justice, also in the classroom. It does, however, also aims to be a theory of learning, teaching and schooling as such, emphasizing thus the importance of cultural Bildung and problem solving in addition to political democracy for citizenship education. This implies appreciating other non-political, apolitical and supra-political aspects of human life, recognizing for instance as legitimate both basic human rights and anarchist recalcitrance. This very liberal emphasis, however, also has an important implication for republican and deliberative social democracy, namely by stressing that a truly democratic education implies the mutual recognition of the individual other in her or his substantial singular otherness.


Le problème abordé ici est celui de l’absence de cohésion sociale dans les démocraties contemporaines et, en particulier, de l’absence d’intérêt pour l’éducation à la citoyenneté. J’ai choisi ici de rejeter le concept du libéralisme politique au sens étroit de Rawls, et de placer ma réflexion dans la perspective du républicanisme social-démocrate en affirmant avec Durkheim que c’est seulement si on la considère comme une doctrine complète de valeurs, c’est-à-dire une religion civique complète, que la démocratie délibérative pourra aussi devenir une obligation civique individuelle et vice versa. En poursuivant cette idée, l’éducation citoyenne démocratique pourrait bénéficier de l’introduction dans le débat du concept allemand de Bildung qui s’avère être d’une très grande richesse. Dans ses travaux didactiques, Wolfgang Klafki insiste sur la nécessité de reconnaître à la fois l’héritage classique de la Bildung et l’idéologie critique de la Théorie critique, en concrétisant de manière pédagogique les débats sur les problèmes contemporains sociétaux à travers une formation démocratique et en mettant l’accent sur la durabilité politique et la durabilité environnementale. La didactique de Klafki est clairement politique, connectée explicitement aux questions de justice que l’on trouve également dans la salle de classe. Toutefois, elle vise aussi à être une théorie de l’apprentissage et du parcours scolaire, soulignant ainsi l’importance de la Bildung culturelle et de la résolution de problèmes en plus de la démocratie politique quant à l’éducation citoyenne. Cela implique la prise en compte d’autres aspects de la vie humaine – le non-politique, l’apolitique et le supra-politique – reconnaissant par exemple comme légitimes à la fois les droits humains et la récalcitrance anarchiste. Toutefois, cet accent très libéral a aussi une implication importante pour la démocratie sociale, républicaine et délibérative, notamment en soulignant qu’une véritable éducation démocratique implique la reconnaissance mutuelle des personnes dans leur altérité si importante et particulière.


Remarks on Science, Epistemology and Education in Bruno Latour’s Down to Earth

In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime (2018), Bruno Latour argues that any effort to sustain life in the critical zone of our planet must leave behind the modern epistemologies, which reify and partition nature and science. In order to clear the ground for a proper descriptive stance, he dismisses ‘the view from nowhere’ and corresponding epistemic notions such as ‘Galileism’. I demonstrate why Latour’s fight against ‘the view from nowhere’ is misguided and wrong in the details. At best, his critique is largely irrelevant for the constructive use of science and education in ‘the climate war’.


Ecology of Sense(-making), Political Eco-logy and Non-ethical Re-founding of Law

The Human Ecology program as proposed in the second part of the book La Société de l’invention. Pour une architectonique philosophique de l’âge écologique aims in particular to refound the Law on a normativity which is not axiological but economic, in the sense that the normativity of needs is defined through the central and self-normative need for health, whose normativity is revealed by suffering. This refoundation is also a redefinition of political ecology as political eco-logy, whose ultimate philosophical foundation is an ecology of sense(-making) as a fundamental ecology confronting the question of the multidimensionality of sense(-making) and its crisis. We introduce here to this global philosophical reconstruction by evoking the contradiction inherent in the transhumanist ideology as a symptom of the crisis of reflexivity.


The Human Rights of Privileged Victims. A Marxist Satire on Shouting Matches

In contemporary Western nations, gender issues are being used to split the oppressed and make them fight among themselves. Men and women spend endless time and effort squabbling about the so-called “male privilege” and an alleged set of attendant disparities, rather than combining their efforts in order to pursue better wages, better working conditions, sensible monetary and fiscal policies by State authorities, true economic security and autonomy, a life-saving stop to the all-embracing profit-motive that is destroying the planet, as well as emancipatory self-ownership and democratic self-stewardship towards full human-rights enjoyment. Working men and women of the world: stop shouting at each other and unite!


Identity and Aesthetics. Atmosphere as an approach to the appearance of the concrete person

The article suggests that recent ideas of aesthetics can contribute to discussions of identity where the idea of identity can prevent nuanced perceptions of how identity appears causing prejudiced and judgemental views. An idea of identity may be an answer to the complexity of one’s bodily presence, but the answer can by reducing complexity cause conflicts in perception of oneself and others. An aesthetic of bodily presence suggests an awareness of the appearance of identity that goes against prejudicial views on other people, views in danger of neglecting the concrete other.


Environmentalism Without Nature? Steven Vogel’s post-natural environmental philosophy

Over the last 30 years quite a few writers have attacked the concept of nature as either ambiguous, meaningless, nostalgic or conservative (Foucault, Rorty, Latour, Descola etc.). Common for them have been their basis in some variant of constructivism or postmodernism. The attacks have appeared simultaneously with a slowly growing concern over our precarious relation to the natural environment. From his background in Critical Theory philosopher Steven Vogel has reacted to the environmental challenge by developing a postnatural, radical constructivistic environmental philosophy. My paper demonstrates the incoherence of Vogel’s theory and argues that a viable environmental philosophy needs to rehabilitate the concept of nature.