Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education
Introduction. My Teaching, My Philosophy
In his book Philosophy as a Way of Life, Pierre Hadot (1995) distinguishes between philosophy as a theoretical endeavour and philosophy as a way of life. To be a professor of philosophy and education at a university today generally obliges one to engage in the practice of philosophy predominantly in a theoretical manner. In thinking of a scholar who is deeply committed to the pursuit of theoretical knowledge as well as to living a philosophical life, Kenneth Wain immediately comes to mind. His teaching life, spanning over 45 years, ranging from secondary school to university, breaks down the binaries of philosophical practice, theoretical or otherwise. His ways of teaching philosophy and particularly philosophy of education reflect a lifelong engagement with philosophical issues that seek to experiment with and open up existing concepts of education.
One aspect that characterizes Kenneth Wain’s philosophical life and thought is his practice of philosophy as a conversation whose educational and political aims are definitely not aimed at having the last word on any issue. Wain’s is an exploratory practice of the possibilities for difference, especially through ways that recast conversations and their rules. As colleagues and ex-students of Kenneth Wain, we have had many opportunities to experience this approach to philosophy, education, and teaching. Our frequent conversations with him as a scholar, philosopher, poet, art critic, and teacher have enriched our own philosophical lives, especially when our thoughts have crossed paths with his thinking without necessarily following and at times even completely departing...
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