Sensual Schooling: <i>On the Aesthetic Education of Grownups</i>

Gordon C.F. Beam

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

Sensual Schooling: On the Aesthetic Education of Grownups

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The chapter by Gordon Bearn begins by considering what Alfred North Whitehead called the “public dangers” inherent in the tendency of educational institutions to preserve the fixed ways and sometimes the errors of the past, a danger made worse, in Bearn's view, by the “professional” turn of higher education in recent times. This is a problem that cannot be laid exclusively at the door of, say, government or commerce, for among ourselves as educators there is the persistent inclination to enshrine our favorite abstractions and to force them upon our students or readers. A return to “great books” or a reaffirmation of “general education” cannot by themselves constitute any kind of solution to this problem. It is against this background that Bearn admires Cavell's reading of Wittgenstein but worries that the interpretation this yields, with the intermittent stability that it seeks, stands in the way of the aesthetic appreciation that is crucial to the education of grownups. This carries the surprising and disconcerting implication that Cavell's reading may contribute to a suppression of the aesthetic and, hence, frustrate the sensual schooling that Bearn advocates.

Keywords: Whitehead; higher education; Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations; sensual schooling; aesthetic education

Chapter.  11646 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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