Agree to Disagree? Let’s not

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Recently a colleague offered in conversation that we should agree to disagree.  This led me to some observations about the role of agreement and disagreement in dialogue.  Some conversations involve a sort of perpetual agreement or mutual affirmation.  These are instances where we’re really just ‘shooting the breeze’, and there’s nothing much at issue between us.  We exchange the gnomes of accepted wisdom and nod.  Other exchanges are characterised pretty much by disagreement.  These are the situations where we talk at cross purposes, or talk past each other – we can’t even seem to get started on the way in which the matter at hand needs to be interrogated. 

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Hermeneutics and Education

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Bloomsbury have kindly allowed me to share a sample chapter of my newly released book via my institutional repository.  I include a summary of the chapter’s content below, and you can download the chapter and get full citation details here.

This chapter considers the implications of philosophical hermeneutics for the well-known ‘pedagogical triangle’ of teacher, student and subject matter. We find our way to what is specifically educational in the hermeneutic dialogue by considering examples of deficient or degenerate conversation. The close relationship between the ‘instructional’ (or pedagogical) triangle and the hermeneutic situation can then be emphasized, particularly once we acknowledge Heidegger’s requirement that the teacher must learn to ‘let learn’. All hermeneutic situations, it will be shown, are educational. How, then, moving beyond this global understanding, can hermeneutics inform those local situations that we wish to think of as specifically educational (i.e. schooling)? This leads us to consider…

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