Being and Learning
A Poetic Phenomenology of Education
2012 - 422 pages
ISBN Paperback: 9789460919466 ($ 54.00)
Winner! 2013 Critics Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association (AESA).
“Education is not an art of putting sight into the eye that can already see, but one of turning the eye towards the proper gaze of Being. That’s what must be managed!” Plato insists.
This claim is the take-off point for Eduardo Duarte’s meditations on the metaphysics and ontology of teaching and learning. In Being and Learning he offers an account of learning as an attunement with Being’s dynamic presencing and unconcealment, which Duarte explores as the capacity to respond and attend to the matter that stands before us, or, in Arendtian terms, to love the world, and to be with others in this world.
This book of ‘poetic thinking’ is a chronicle of Duarte’s ongoing exploration of the question of Being, a philosophical journey that has been guided primarily through a conversation with Heidegger, and which also includes the voices of Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus, Nietzsche, as well Lao Tzu and the Buddha, among others.
In Being and Learning, Duarte undertakes a ‘phenomenology of the original’: a writing that consciously and conspicuously interrupts the discursive field of work in philosophy of education. As the late Reiner Schurmann described this method: “it recalls the ancient beginnings and it anticipates a new beginning, the possible rise of a new economy among things, words and actions.”
Being and Learning is a work of parrhesia: a composition of free thought that disrupts the conventional practice of philosophy of education, and thereby open up gaps and spaces of possibility in the arrangement of words, concepts, and ideas in the field. With this work Eduardo Duarte is initiating new pathways of thinking about education.
From Sam Rocha, reviewing Being and Learning in the journal Studies in Philosophy and Education:
"In the end, Being and Learning can be read in any number of ways, but above all I think it must be read with love. This is not to say that one must love the book or its author, but, rather, that without love it is impossible to read poetry poetically. A prosaic reading of the poetic will always reap what it sows. A poetic reading is generous, critical, insistent, serious, and always willing to dance. This is the chief triumph of Duarte’s book: it stands as an obstacle and invitation to learning, under the precise, aesthetic/ontological conditions of learning provided.
This is a book about the immense rigor of having an idea. The labor of (re)birth. For Duarte, to have an idea is not the unique creation of a concept from nothing, but, instead, the much more difficult work of giving birth to something that is as old as it is new, as primordial as it is original. This is a book about a personal and perennial struggle to practice the art of philosophy as a seamless and continuous act of the art of teaching and the demands of the whole that extend into the community and its constitutive conditions.
In short, Duarte’s book is a strenuous attempt to think and feel and live. The key to Being and Learning, then, is simply a question of whether the reader shares that ambition or not."