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Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 31;

The Test of Practice–An Essay

Institute of Education, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1092, 0317 Blindern, Oslo, Norway
Academic Editors: Paul Standish, SunInn Yun and James Albright
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Democracy and Education at 100)
Full-Text   |   PDF [200 KB, uploaded 21 February 2017]


This essay starts in medias res, in the puzzling reappearance of the classical metaphor of Bildung as the transformation of man’s “first” animal nature into the “second” cultivated one. I call it the two-natures metaphor. I think it misrepresents children by prescribing form rather than asking what actually takes form in the child’s mind—in his/her relationship with adults. It made me wonder whether this mistake also lingers on in the current discourse on education. I then turn to aspects of John Dewey’s subtle and revolutionary critique of the classical theory of formation, but also to make the controversial point that he, too, seems to miss the importance of the child’s internal point of view. The importance of the subjective life of the child is suggested first by reinscribing Rousseau and Kant into the intersubjective theories of Hegel and Dewey; second, by reference to recent studies in developmental psychology that offer detailed and in-depth descriptions of our relationship with children. My basic point of departure is the existential encounters between children and adults, for example, as part of classroom practices. The title has a double connotation. It means that theory must be taken as the measure of practice. It means, too, that practice must work as the measure of theory. I will, in the main, try and pursue the last course. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bildung; the two-natures metaphor; Dewey’s blind eye; Rousseau’s point; Kant’s invitation; the child perspective; life issues; interpretation Bildung; the two-natures metaphor; Dewey’s blind eye; Rousseau’s point; Kant’s invitation; the child perspective; life issues; interpretation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Løvlie, L. The Test of Practice–An Essay. Educ. Sci. 2017, 7, 31.

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