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    Spinoza, experimentation and education: How things teach us

    O'Donnell, Aislinn (2018) Spinoza, experimentation and education: How things teach us. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 50 (9). pp. 819-829. ISSN 0013-1857

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    This essay focuses on three primary issues i. The conceptual resources offered by Spinoza to challenge the idealism and perfectionism underpinning much educational theory and dominant educational imaginaries; ii. His descriptions of a non-ideal, practical and systematic approach to developing understanding that could be applied to educational theorising and practice; and iii. The potential for a different vision of education premised upon understanding the human as simply a part of nature. Decentring the human and treating affective and mental life as one would lines, planes, and bodies, as Spinoza claims we must in Ethics, invites another way of thinking about the politics and ethics of educational practice. Enacting experimental approaches to pedagogy produces new subjectivities and also invents new connections and relations between different bodies and different ideas. I argue that a properly Spinozist understanding of education would require it to be understood through practices of experimentation, in short, developing capabilities to compose relations in such a way that one also develops a the awareness of oneself as finite, dependent, vulnerable and as a part of nature. Seemingly paradoxically then, having understood how and that one is determined, and which bodies agree or disagree with one, one becomes more capable of agency and thus an ethical life.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Spinoza; education; experience; pedagogy; imagination; affect;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 11419
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Prof Aislinn O'Donnell
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 17:01
    Journal or Publication Title: Educational Philosophy and Theory
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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