Volume 32, 2016
Education and Social Justice
Learning as Learning How to Feel
In this dialogue, Sir Isaac Newton and the Priestess Diotima of Mantinea (who have met previously in “Two Cheers for Reductionism”) engage current debates in the politics of education and their conceptual underpinnings. Diotima challenges the assumption that the acquisition of educational content or skills should dominate our concept of learning. She develops an alternative conception of education as fundamentally moral, interpersonal, and emotional, and thus prone to destruction in the face of the objectifying forces of high-stakes testing and a reductive audit culture. Lord Newton is skeptical of this conception, and of its pedagogical, rhetorical, and political implications.