Educational critique, critical thinking and the critical philosophical traditions
SourceJournal of Philosophy of Education
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Responding to Jan Masschelein's discussion of critical distance and the trivialisation of critique in his ‘How to Conceive of Critical Educational Theory Today?’, I draw attention to the antinomic character of immanence and transcendence—that is, to the way that it entails both non-circumventible necessity and omnipresent risks. I argue that the discourse of critical thinking in education is exemplary of the tensions generated by such consolidated meanings. Through this prism, I aim to offer a nuanced account of ways in which the trivialisation of critique nurtures narcissistic and conformist tendencies that do not leave unaffected any critical philosophical line of thought. To illustrate my critique of contemporary critical education of all persuasions, I deal with an ethics of reading and writing. I suggest that, rather than encouraging cynicism and an abdication of responsibility, this antinomic character of critique should discourage any complacent and one-sided reliance on one's own tradition.