Category Archives: In A Philosophical Mood

Cornel West Speaks Truth to Power

Though the current status of “public intellectuals” is somewhat unclear, there is no doubt that Cornel West – a Christian, a socialist and an African-American human rights activist –  is one of the best in America. He is pugnacious, complex and passionate. The following provides a taste of what this articulate academic has to offer.

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 4

  Chp. 4 of Paul Veyne’s Foucault, entitled “Archaeology”, is a curious part of the book. This short section extends Veyne’s epistemological discussion of the previous chapter, but does not really examine “archaeology” as a method. Also, Foucault’s somewhat vague differentiation between “archaeology” and “genealogy” is mirrored by Veyne’s implicit conflation of the two concepts, […]

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Tobey Steeves: Schools as sorting machines and the imperative of reform

I am pleased to offer a guest post from my comrade-in-arms, Tobey Steeves (@symphily). I think Tobey’s call to recognize the unique qualities of each student in the face of bureaucratic classification and stratification is imperative in today’s obsession with “reform”. Tobey points to a particularly egregious proposal regarding special education: as a sop to […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 3

Foucault’s epistemological perspective is one of the more intriguing aspects of his oeuvre. Foucault never really examined his theory of knowledge in any consistent and thorough-going manner, but he offered many (sometimes cryptic) observations and remarks that have encouraged others to piece together his understanding of how we know and understand the world. Paul Veyne […]

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Changes in Core Competencies?

The following is my response to the Ministry of Education’s question, What new competencies will students need to prepare them for graduation and the future? The question can be found on the Ministry’s new website, engage.bcedplan.ca/ ______________ The most important competencies are the ones that have existed for millennia. In terms of the basic literacy […]

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Questioning Progressive Education’s Sacred Cows

As someone who blogs, tweets, wikis, flickrs and youtubes [and turns nouns into verbs], I suppose I’m a fairly modern teacher. But I’m also very suspicious of “student-centered learning” and the sort of unyielding optimism that its adherents seem to possess. Maybe I’m just an old crank, but modern education seems consumed by a cheery […]

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Some surprising conclusions regarding creativity and innovation

Howard Gardner is well known for his theory of multiple intelligences. He is less well known for a fascinating book on creativity.  [This is obviously anecdotal, but I don’t know a single educator who has even heard of this book.] In his Creating Minds (1993), Gardner explores the lives of seven famous persons from the 20th […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 2

One of the strongest objections to Foucault’s philosophy is that his theory of discourse appears to resemble an old sociological perspective: structural functionalism. Structural functionalism is a sort of biological approach to understanding society: all parts of society work together to allow that society to function. The emphasis is on equilibrium, harmony and interdependence (though […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 1

One of the most celebrated philosophers of the 20th century is Michel Foucault. At once both vilified and lauded, Foucault is a fascinating and demanding thinker. He certainly proved to be a challenge when his conception of the Self became the centerpiece of my Master’s thesis. Yet I’ve always maintained that his philosophy (or should […]

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America’s Education Politics: A Crass and Explicit Example

As if we didn’t have enough examples of the highly politicized nature of American educational reform, along comes another illustration that reaches new lows for crassness and audacity. Jonah Edelman is a leader of Stand for Children, a well-known and influential educational reform movement based in Oregon. The “grassroots child advocacy organization” is said to […]

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