Category Archives: In A Philosophical Mood

My response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism [in education] right-wing?”

Here is my response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism right-wing?“ ______________ Thank you, Michael, for a thoughtful and well-reasoned piece. Your point about conservatism as conservation is an important one: it is not connected to political beliefs or policies, just as pedagogy and political beliefs are not equivalent. Gramsci teaches us that, clearly. […]

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Notes and commentary on Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation (Part 1)

We all have those books – the ones we know are good for us but have remained on the bookshelf for years (or decades). Thankfully, Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation is now one of those books that I can return to my bookshelf with the satisfaction that I’ve finally read one of the masterpieces  of economic […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 7

After equivocating over the necessity of an Objective stance, Veyne returns to a more consistently skeptical position in “The Physical and Human Sciences: Foucault’s Programme”, the seventh chapter of Foucault: His Thought, His Character. The central question of this chapter is the degree to which Foucault is epistemologically confident in his analysis of discourse, an […]

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Albert O. Hirschman’s The Passions and the Interests

Albert O. Hirschman’s The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph is an essay as insightful and thought-provoking as it is elegant.  Hirschman’s Passions is a timeless classic that gracefully explores the intersection of economic, social and political thought, and provides a perceptive understanding of the Western world’s intellectual accommodation and […]

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Reflections on a 21st Century School

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day at Thomas Haney Secondary School in Maple Ridge, BC. The school is known for its commitment to flexible, personalized, learn-at-your-own-pace education, and is touted by many as an exemplar of progressive pedagogy. As a teacher curious about the phenomenon of “21st century learning”, but also a little […]

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A Brief Manifesto for Economic Reform

With another announcement of a major manufacturing plant moving south – on the premise that highly skilled fabricators should work for $15 (US) an hour – perhaps it’s time that Canada re-examines its industrial strategy. Instead of a corporate tax-cut agenda that worsens competitiveness and employment, or a free-trade mentality that exposes our major industries […]

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Riffing on MacLennan: The Two Solitudes of Education

After participating in today’s Twitter conversation (#bcedplan) with the Minister of Education, I’m more convinced than ever of the two solitudes in modern education. The ascendant group is made up of the so-called progressives. They seem naturally drawn to modern technologies, and, as a result, are over-represented on Twitter. The other group, what we might call […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 6

I’ll be honest – I am no expert on Heidegger. So I’ll have to take Veyne’s account of Heidegger, entitled “Notwithstanding Heidegger, Man Is An Intelligent Animal” at relatively face value.  Veyne’s central aim in this chapter is to distinguish Foucault from Heidegger. Though Veyne won’t admit this, many have lumped Foucault in with the […]

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Same Coin, Two Sides: Resurrecting the Liberal Arts Ideal

There are truths on this side of the Pyranees, which are falsehoods on the other.  ~Blaise Pascal ————- Have you noticed that the same behaviour can be described in diametrically opposed ways, depending on different people’s perspectives? For example, if you were taught, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 5

Chp. 5 of Paul Veyne’s Foucault, entitled “Universalism, Universals, Epigenesis”, is another short chapter, and a partial detour away from his analysis of Foucault. The main purpose of the chapter is to demonstrate that Christianity, despite its universalist aspirations and pretensions, is a discursive formation riven with scattered intentionalities, unpredictable origins, and unintended alterations. This chapter […]

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