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I-for-Thou: A Critique of Dialogue

Sun, April 11, 9:30 to 10:30am EDT (9:30 to 10:30am EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Philosophical Studies in Education Roundtable Sessions


There exists a loose collective of educational thinkers who place relationality at the center of education. It is an interdisciplinary and international group that includes philosophers, empirical researchers, psychologists, and leadership scholars, early childhood and K-12 educators. Many of them have been influenced by the relational ontology of Martin Buber and/or the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin. Both authors describe human existence in terms of the opposition between dialogical and instrumental (or monoligical) relations. While theoretically fertile, the dichotomy suffers from exclusionary consequences and as such presents a difficulty in applying to education. This paper offers a critique of dialogue that can lead to a different relational ideal.