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My Teaching, My Philosophy

Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education

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Edited By John Baldacchino, Simone Galea and Duncan P. Mercieca

My Teaching, My Philosophy brings together twenty of the most prominent thinkers on education, philosophy, art, and literature to converse with Kenneth Wain and the many facets of his work. It shows how Wain’s passionate engagement with various issues, most prominently philosophy and education, continues to re-generate new ideas and thoughts through his philosophical method. This book gives Wain’s philosophy the attention it deserves and succeeds in continuing an open-ended philosophical conversation with its readers. My Teaching, My Philosophy is a must-read for anyone wanting to get a snapshot on the most recent thinking on philosophy of education.
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17. Autobiography: Self-(re)-Education beyond Literature and Philosophy

← 254 | 255 → • CHAPTER SEVENTEEN •

Extract

The writing of this chapter is inspired by Stanley Cavell’s book, A Pitch of Philosophy (1996), which claims a necessary relationship between philosophy and autobiography. This claim resonates with my struggle over the years to reconcile my earlier interest in being a poet with my vocation to be a philosopher in my later years, a combination that was disallowed for me by the Anglo-saxon philosophical tradition into which I was educated and affirms a universal voice for philosophy against that of poetry that confesses to being subjective and autobiographical. Cavell claimed both that philosophy speaks in a universal voice and that its voice is autobiographical.

One of the books I was referred to when I was studying philosophy for a bachelor’s honours degree with London University in the early 1970s was Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy (1946/1971). which was still listed as a textbook. In its introduction, Russell criticised “most histories of philosophy,” where “each philosopher appears in a vacuum.” His history would:

exhibit each philosopher, as far as truth permits, as an outcome of his milieu, a man in whom were crystallized and concentrated thoughts and feelings which, in a vague and diffused form, were common to the community of which he was part. (1946/1971, p. 7)

This way of presenting the philosopher contrasts with the Cartesian image of the philosopher as a solitary genius isolated in his or her study with systematically dismantling the items of his or her existential situatedness...

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