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Existential Philosophy and the Promise of Education

Learning from Myths and Metaphors

Mordechai Gordon

Myths and metaphors share not only an ability to call our attention to aspects of our world of which we were previously unaware, but also a propensity toward symbolic meanings and interpretations. In Existential Philosophy and the Promise of Education: Learning from Myths and Metaphors, Professor Gordon draws on some well-known myths and metaphors of various Existentialist thinkers and writers as a lens and an interpretative framework with which to explore a variety of issues in philosophy of education. His book argues that symbolic or metaphorical interpretations can offer us representations of problems in education that go beyond what we can gain when we consider them only in their literal sense. Existential Philosophy and the Promise of Education is an excellent classroom text for a variety of foundations courses, including the Philosophy of Education.


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Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 Part I 11 Chapter 1. Teachers as Absurd Heroes: Camus’ Sisyphus and the Promise of Rebellion 13 Chapter 2. Education as Empowerment: Exploring Dostoyevsky’s Notion of ‘the Underground’ 33 Chapter 3. Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and the Challenge of Relating to Strangers 53 Chapter 4. Negotiating Contingency: Sartre’s Nausea and the Possibility of Losing Control in a Technological World 71 Part II 89 Chapter 5. Nietzsche on the Significance of Learning about the Past 91 Chapter 6. Martin Buber’s Metaphor of ‘Starting from Above’ and the Issue of Educational Authority 109 viii contents Chapter 7. Hannah Arendt’s Concept of the ‘Banality of Evil’: On Thoughtlessness in Education 127 Chapter 8. Maxine Greene, Opening Spaces, and Education for Freedom 147

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