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New Social Foundations for Education

Education in 'Post Secular' Society

Edited By Philip Wexler and Yotam Hotam

There has been growing scholarly attention to questions about the revival of religion and religiosity on global social, cultural and political fronts and the emergence of a ‘post-secular’ society. New Social Foundations for Education is dedicated to the drawing of the implications of the contemporary ‘post-secular’ social transformation for education. Though the question of the ‘post-secular’ stands at the focal point of a wide range of academic debates and discussions, within educational discourse it has not received close scholarly attention. This volume aims to correct this lack by presenting groundbreaking works of leading scholars from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Contributions discuss such topics as the mystical tradition and its social and pedagogic implications; transformative and ecological education; ‘new age’ spiritualism and its educational implications; and the relations between secular and religious education in different local contexts.
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3. On the Teachings of George Grant

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3. On the Teachings of George Grant

WILLIAM F. PINAR

[T]he [contemporary] purpose of education is to gain knowledge which issues in the mastery of human and non-human nature.

—George Grant (1969, 118)

One of Canada’s greatest public intellectuals (Potter, 2005, ix; Lathangue, 1998, vii; Lipset, 1990, 36), George Grant (1918–1988), was born on November 13, 1918. Like his father, he studied history, winning the history medal at Queen’s University where, William Christian (2001 [1995], ix) tells us, “he was drawn to grand themes, rather than to the minutiae of historical research.” That same disposition surfaced later at Oxford, where he had gone on a Rhodes scholarship to study law (Christian, 2001 [1995], ix). After service as an Air Raid Precautions warden during the German bombing of London, Grant returned to Canada in February 1942. Returning to Oxford after the war he left law to study theology, earning extra money by writing historical articles on Canada for Chambers’ Encyclopedia. “Before I became a philosopher,” he reflected years later, “I studied history and still think very much as an historian” (Christian, 2001 [1995], x).

The history, to which Grant was increasingly drawn, was that of modernity and its “realization of the technological dream,” e.g., “universalization and homogenization” (Grant, 2005 [1970], lxxii). Associated with modernity itself, and with the United States specifically as modernity’s most “expressive manifestation,” (Emberley, 2005 [1994], lxxx) technology had become not...

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