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The Question of This Modern European Symposium and the Comparative-Historical Approach

The contemporary question that I shall discuss at this symposium may be articulated simply as follows: “What education, knowledge and pedagogy for what purpose in the unfolding twenty-first post-industrial, information-technological and “philistine. My approach to the discussion of this educational question will be a variant of the comparative-historical methodological paradigm. I shall use past educational texts/discourses and cultures, in this case the Athenian cultural system of paideia, to address critically the aforementioned modernist educational question.

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Hermeneutic

Following the approach of J. Peter Euben (Euben, 2005), an American political theorist and a classical Greek scholar, I shall engage the ancient Greeks – the Athenians – in their intellectual and cultural system of “humanistic paideia” to comment critically on contemporary modernist educational and knowledge trends in the imagined European knowledge society.

In order to minimize the perhaps unavoidable elements of “presentism” and “didacticism” in such an approach, and to minimize the monumentalizing or idealizing of the “glory that was Greece,” my cautious and hopefully unbiased engagement with the ancient Greeks on paideia will be “hermeneutic”: I shall bring and use the responses we receive from this discursive enterprise and interrogation of ancient Greek educational “texts” to speak to modernist educational preoccupations and concerns.Read more about Tamilmv

Concluding remark

My aspirations in this comparative-historical discursive encounter will be (a) to make the juxtaposition of ancient Greek and modern European and American educational ideas and cultures “generative,” i.e., to what extent does such juxtaposition offer some perspective that invigorates contemporary scholarly educational debate and (b) to echo Euben, “to treat the study of the Greek past less as a project of extrapolating items of knowledge than as an enabling device to bring depth to the questions we ask and provide direction for reflection and argument” (Euben 2005: 17)

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