On becoming a person

How does an entity become a person? Forty years ago Carl Rogers answered this question by suggesting that human beings become persons through a process of personal growth and self-discovery. In the present paper I provide six different answers to this question, which form a hierarchy of empirical projects and associated criteria that can be used to understand human personhood. They are: (1) persons are constructed out of natural but organic materials; (2) persons emerge as a form of adaptation through the process of evolution; (3) persons develop ontogenetically; (4) persons are created through the unifying activity of self-narrative ; (5) persons are constituted through socio-historical and cultural processes; and (6) the concept of person is a normative ideal . I suggest that it is important to consider all of these projects and related criteria in order to appreciate fully how an entity becomes a human person.

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Learning Professional Ways of Being: Ambiguities of becoming

The purpose of professional education programs is to prepare aspiring professionals for the challenges of practice within a particular profession. These programs typically seek to ensure the acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills, as well as providing opportunities for their application. While not denying the importance of knowledge and skills, this paper reconfigures professional education as a process of becoming. Learning to become a professional involves not only what we know and can do, but also who we are (becoming). It involves integration of knowing, acting, and being in the form of professional ways of being that unfold over time. When a professional education program focuses on the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills, it falls short of facilitating their integration into professional ways of being. In addition, through such a focus on epistemology (or theory of knowing), ontology (or theory of being) is overlooked. This paper explores what it means to develop professional ways of being where the focus is becoming, not simply knowing as an end in itself.

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Deleuze on Becoming-Other: developing the ethics of integration

This article analyzes the philosophy of French post-structuralist Gilles Deleuze in the context of post-formal education. The article specifically focuses on  Deleuze’s unorthodox approach to epistemology and ethics as future-oriented and creative, and lays  down the foundations for a new ethics of integration in education derived from Deleuze’s conceptualizations of ‘becoming’; specifically ‘becoming-other’. The call for ‘a new ethic’ was originally made by  rich Neumann in the troubled time of the aftermath of the Second World War in Europe. Contemporary conditions of cultural diversity point to the inadequacy of old ethical theories. The future form of ducational philosophy encompasses not only resistance to the present but both the diagnosis and prognosis (creative, even if  uncertain) for our actual multiple becomings in terms of becoming-revolutionary, becoming democratic, becoming-pedagogical and becoming-ethical. The role of an educational philosopher becomes one of the clinician of culture; the latter described by Deleuze as an inventor of new immanent modes of existence that encompass critical, clinical and creative dimensions. The article’s conclusion is that achieving enuine intercultural dialogue demands putting into practice a particular educational theory, which is defined in this article as an ethics of integration.

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Deleuze on Becoming-Revolutionary

I explain in this paper how Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy of becoming-minoritarian functions as a principle of becoming-revolutionary. To achieve this goal, I elucidate one of the significant features of becoming-minoritarian–becoming-democratic. The said principle is one of the ways that shows how to become revolutionary against the capitalist-captured democracy. I elaborate this undertaking by explicating becoming-democracy’s antithetical stance to conventional democratic practices and popular opinions, as well as its violence to the human condition. Ultimately, becoming democracy
exemplifies the principle of becoming-revolutionary via its critical diagnosis of different capitalist and democratic codifications in the society. Such mode of resistance fuels philosophy’s political vocation—the creation of concepts capable of radicalizing the grain towards a people and world-to-come.

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Read also: Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of ‘Becoming-Revolutionary’

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Gilles Deleuze: The Intensive Reduction

Gilles Deleuze: The Intensive Reduction brings together eighteen essays written by an internationally acclaimed team of scholars to provide a comprehensive overview of the work of Gilles Deleuze, one of the most important and influential European thinkers of the twentieth century. Each essay addresses a central issue in Deleuze’s philosophy (and that of his regular co-author, Félix Guattari) that remains to this day controversial and unsettled. Since Deleuze’s death in 1994, the technical aspects of his philosophy have been largely neglected. These essays address that gap in the existing scholarship by focusing on his contribution to philosophy. Each contributor advances the discussion of a contested point in the philosophy of Deleuze to shed new light on as yet poorly-understood problems and to stimulate new and vigorous exchanges regarding his relationship to philosophy, schizoanlysis, his aesthetic, ethical and political thought. Together, the essays in this volume make an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Deleuze’s philosophy.

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Two Uses of Michel Foucault in Political Theory

This deep presence of Foucault’s influence across contemporary theoretical landscapes signals a need for self-reflectiveness that has largely (though not entirely) been missing in contemporary uses of Foucault. While scholarship in a Foucauldian vein is obviously alive and well, scholarship on Foucauldian methodology is not. This paper develops a distinction between two methodological features of Foucault’s work that deserve to be disentangled: I parse the methods (e.g., genealogy, archaeology) and concepts (e.g., discipline, biopower) featured in Foucault’s texts. Following this, I use the terms of this distinction to develop a detailed survey of two quite different contemporary uses of Foucault. My two test cases for comparison are the works of Giorgio Agamben and Ian Hacking, two contemporary theorists who demonstrate a productive engagement with central features of Foucault’s work.

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Action theory in Habermas and educational practices

In this paper I explore the potential for viewing education as an “unrestricted communication community” (Habermas 1990: 88), using categorisations from Habermas of different kinds of action as analytical tools for examining educational practices. For the paper, I pursue two main themes: 1) how the concept of communicative action in relation to the three forms of knowledge-constitutive interest (Habermas 1987) can be operationalised in educational discourse 2) how the distinguishing of communicative action and discourse ethics from other forms of action may be used to understand the interaction taking place in educational contexts to develop evaluative tools for examining teaching practices. The potential of this framework for encouraging critical reflection on teaching, on critical incidents in teaching, peer observation, or tutor observation of novice practitioners is also discussed in relation to the forms of reflexivity that Habermas identifies as necessary conditions of human freedom (1996). Taken together, these different constructs form a powerful framework for critically examining the truth and validity claims both explicitly made and implied in educational practices from the perspectives of the individual as well as the professional community to which the individual belongs. It is accepted that a rational, communicative action aimed at reaching consensus does not necessarily dominate either the school or the higher education institution’s normal mode of discourse. Thus, the paper also differentiates other forms of action, incorporating these into the overall critical framework.

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The Passion and the Spirit: Albert Camus as Moral Politician

This essays addresses the curious circumstance that for all their visibility on blogs, twitter and the ‘op-ed’ pages of newspapers, public intellectuals offer remarkably little ethical guidance regarding current events and crises. These intellectuals may offer their expertise (explanations, predictions), but do not provide much ethical inspiration, almost as if ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ have become meaningless categories. Things were different a few generations ago, when the likes of Albert Camus would search their souls in order to figure out how to live. This essay portrays Camus as private citizen and public moralist, and briefly discusses current political events in a mindset inspired by Camus.

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Bakhtin, Pushkin, and the Co-Creativity of Those Who Understand

From the beginning (1919) to the end (1972) of his publishing career, Mikhail Bakhtin very often wrote about the force of creativity. This is a secondary theme, but also a freedom-valuing variant of his grand themes of dialogism, chronotope, carnival, great time. Bakhtin’s definition, which works to disentangle the existing given from the newly-created, helps us in 2015 to rescue creativity from debased usages in the public sphere. One purpose of this essay is to rectify a valuable term: to show what Bakhtin means by “the co-creativity of those who understand.” Another purpose is to specify, with Bakhtin’s help, the type of creativity Alexandr Pushkin achieves in his historical moment, in lyric, narrative, and meditative poems. To the extent we are successful, we continue an ongoing project in Bakhtin studies: to show how his thinking aids in the interpretation of poetry as verbal art.

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Questioning the common sense of creativity and innovation through Deleuzian thought

This paper draws on the work of Gilles Deleuze to question the discourse of creativity. Its motivation lies in the ever-growing focus on the need for creative and innovative solutions to address the needs and wants of society, a narrative that has become a ubiquitous and taken-for-granted ‘common-sense’ such that it risks an unquestioning acceptance of it. The paper explores the ideas of Deleuze to suggest we need to ‘rethink’ our understanding of what it means to be creative and innovative and to question the current territorialisation of this discourse. It reflects on the consequences of this rhetoric and activity, particularly relating it to the realm of the political and capitalism especially. Whilst Deleuze doesn’t offer any easy answers, his critique of what he calls the problematic (but dogmatic) image of thought poses challenges to our assumptions and stresses the need to consider the genesis of our thinking. By asking ourselves “from whence does this thought come?” we learn that many of the problems we seek to answer, and values for which we work are given to us ‘ready made’ and limit us to working for what we know and recognise. This inhibits our true creative and innovative potential.

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