Paul Standish and Naoko Saito

in Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823234738
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823240753 | DOI:

Series: American Philosophy


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In this introductory chapter, Paul Standish and Naoko Saito outline the multiple ways in which education figures in the work of Stanley Cavell. Hilary Putnam's description of Cavell as not only as one of the most creative thinkers of today but one of the few contemporary philosophers to explore the territory of philosophy as education is an apt assessment of his conception of philosophy. Yet Cavell's own somewhat enigmatic emphasis on a phrase, “philosophy as the education of grownups,” is not to be understood from one side alone. His preoccupation with the idea of philosophy as education runs throughout his work – through his fascination with Austin and ordinary language philosophy, Wittgenstein and skepticism, Emerson and Thoreau, film and literature. It is there at the heart of his masterwork, The Claim of Reason, where he writes: “philosophy becomes the education of grownups” (Cavell, 1979, p. 125). While mainstream philosophy tends to have given insufficient attention to the emphasis on education in his work, amongst educators his thought is largely still to be received. The editors introduce the book as answering to this need.

Keywords: Stanley Cavell; The Claim of Reason; philosophy as education; ordinary language philosophy; Wittgenstein; Scepticism; Emerson; Thoreau; Film; literature

Chapter.  6527 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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