Heidegger and Socrates: teaching and learning as a lifelong undertaking

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Both Heidegger and Socrates ardently espouse a philosophy for the teacher as continuing learner. In effect, Heidegger turns to Socrates and the timeless reign of his exemplary method to demonstrate the originating force of pre-technological paideia grounded in a culture of being-ness and fulfillment. Socrates, prototypical philosophos lover of wisdom, ascertaining that knowledge of his ignorance forwards the best way to existentially encounter others, urgently establishes his own life as a guiding philosophy. Here, philosophical questioning of self and other gives way to knowledgeable ignorance initiating though eros and thaumasmos transformative pedagogical encounter. His life-long pathos for questioning engenders a perpetual state of aporia drawing wisdom near and ignorances into the light of day. Socratic pedagogics harmonizing method and content without divorcing knowledge from the human bios ignites ever more through presence and aporetic thinking that constant passion for learning at the boundaries of the knowable. In contradistinction Heidegger finds that the economy of modern university education subverts dynamic pedagogical encounter in favor of research methodologies that fail to bring unqualified transformation to the concrete educational context. Instead, they effectually annul philosophical questioning nullify the ontological power of aporia marginalizing the real teacher. The atrophy of teaching today constitutes the lamentable fact of mass education institutionalized, driven by the nihilistic onset of rigorous research methodologies at the service of economic resources and societal practical and political demands extraneous to the educational process. Overspecialization following the modern dominance of theory fragments the unity of all knowledge thereby undermines compromises the university, opening the division of faculties with disciplined foci to the economy of technologized science and standardized research looking for quick and efficient results. Both Heidegger and Socrates a modern and an ancient recover teaching as continuing learning at the boundaries of tradition and the pedagogical practices of their day and age. Exemplifying philosophical questioning and thaumazein they highlight life-long learning through transformative teaching—eros, unknowing and enthousiasmos—whose ongoing task becomes an undertaking against normalizing education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationΔια Βίου Μάθηση: Διεπιστημονικές Προσεγγίσεις
EditorsVicky Karavakou
Place of PublicationSalonica
PublisherΕκδόσεις Πανεπιστημίου Μακεδονίας
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-960-8396-67-8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventΔιά Βίου Μάθηση: Διεπιστημονικές προσεγγίσεις - University of Macedonia, Salonica, Greece
Duration: 28 Jan 201129 Jan 2011


ConferenceΔιά Βίου Μάθηση: Διεπιστημονικές προσεγγίσεις
Internet address


  • lifelong, transformation, teaching, learning, knowledge, ignorance, research, being


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