Rethinking Greek Paideia and its Transcendent Aim of Appropriating the Kosmic Whole in View of Homo-Economicus, and the Economic Hole at the Root of Modern Education

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This paper points to pathways that pedagogy may follow today in order to bridge the gap between two seemingly incommensurable systems of teaching and learning, namely: classical Greek paideia and modern education. Firstly, the present exploration elucidates the historical and cultural force of classical Greek education and then establishes Jaeger's conception of the paideia of the Greeks as imperishable cultural literary and philosophical genius. In turn, the discussion moves to the ways homo-economicus dominates homo-politicus and homo-educandus in Plato’s Republic VIII, exposing the ways Greek philosophical paideia since Socrates overcame the weaknesses and destructive influences of 'economic-man'. It is submitted here that Plato’s Republic VIII implicitly establishes that the paideia of homo-philosophicus is the best, perhaps the only way to reconcile the tensions between homo-economicus homo-politicus and homo-educandus in the politeia. Further, the paper ascertains that the unrestrained intentions and ministrations of 'economic-man' –his panourgia– are at the root of the global crisis in culture and education today, and shows how the modern university constitutes an arena of scientific inquiry at the beck and call of global economic forces. Mostly, the present exploration illumines the pillars of Greek philosophical paideia and exemplifies the differences and antithetical aims of modern education in order to firstly, clarify the lack of a transcendent aim in today's pedagogical systems, and secondly, to open the way for envisioning such an aim outside of economic criteria and dogmatic religious or prescriptive pedagogical positions. Since the Greeks of antiquity, the best way to begin rethinking an honorable spiritual aim that will revitalize and inspire pedagogical learning remains the sole prerogative of philosophical paideia. Indeed, for the Greeks paideia constitutes the opening philosophical movement of the ongoing search for the place of the human within the kosmic whole along the pathways of alētheia logos and dialogos, whilst the modernist project of education apparently bears no philosophical backbone save pragmatism that is indistinguishable from the utilitarian movement of feeding the needs and voracious demands of the industrial conglomerate: down the bottomless pit of the economic hole created by the global economic rises, crises and metastases. In conclusion, the present inquiry re-contextualizes the possible contribution of classical philosophical paideia in today's emerging global environment through an exploration of the Greek conceptions of epoché (epoch) and the kairos—the apt or ripe time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-102
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Arts & Sciences
Issue number01
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018
EventFreiburg 2018: International Academic Conference of the International Journal of Arts & Sciences (IJAS) - Freiburg University, Freiburg, Germany
Duration: 3 Dec 20186 Dec 2018


  • Greek paideia, Jaeger, Plato, Postman, Jaspers, Globalization, Modern education


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