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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A taste for new meaning : Hannah Arendt and educational thought Giles, Graham

Abstract

This thesis brings the work of twentieth century political philosopher Hannah Arendt to a consideration of educational thought. It argues for and seeks to demonstrate ways in which Arendt's oeuvre provokes and vitalizes educational thought as it concerns pluralism, ethics, democracy, knowledge, meaning and critique. In seeking "new landscapes to think from" for education, it invites Arendt's phenomenological recovery of the political, the public realm, to disturb particular forms of thought that give shape to contemporary education. It specifically engages the problematics of modernity, in its expressions as the liberal self, instrumental rationality and alienating structures of authority. The author argues that these reiterate the bankruptcy of meaning which Arendt calls "worldlessness," and that this concern is of deep and continuing significance to education. In a reconsideration of understanding and meaning beyond the automatism and ubiquity of the liberal self, this thesis then considers how thinking, judging, action and speech, as Arendt posits them, may call upon education to better enact its "promise to the world" of freedom and human dignity.

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