Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education
3. What’s in an Examined Life? Longing for Philosophy in the Age of Learning Societies
This chapter is about lifelong education and its “twin notion of” the learning society (Wain, 2000, p. 36), but it does not aim to present all the important aspects, much less to answer the surrounding questions. It aims rather to explore Kenneth Wain’s thought-enlarging and topical intervention. Of relevance are the following: the temporality of lifelong education and contemporary learning societies, the current global emphasis on performativity and its uncritical conception of (lifelong) education, and the epochal role of the educator/intellectual/artist/philosopher. These themes invite arguments for the significance of thinking about lived time in connection to educational experience. Such arguments are then conjoined with the claim that the desire for philosophy offering aporetic rather than problem-solving educational motivation is crucial for a lifelong education that avoids performativist implications.
Does the word “lifelong” of the phrase “lifelong education” simply give a chronological determination to education? To tackle this question, I turn to the Greek distinction between chronos and kairos and, to illustrate some of its educational implications, I refer to a “kairosophy” that, as I explained elsewhere (Papastephanou, 2013), derives from an ancient Greek poem by Poseidippos that refers to the statue of Kairos (by sculptor Lysippos [4th B.C.]). Before presenting the premises of kairosophy, let me clarify the relevant terms. Chronos denotes measurable time, or quantity of time, framing human reality. Kairos bears a qualitative sense of temporality and associations of chance, opportunity, lived experience, and relationality to time. Both inspired ← 41 | 42 → thought and art throughout Hellenic...
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