Reawakening our Ethical Freedom; Forging a sense of Belonging through Community of Philosophical Inquiry

Elizabeth Meade, Maynooth University

In my working paper I want to address how the work of Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) can help me to think differently about the pedagogy of community of philosophical inquiry. I want to explore how Levinas’ critique of the modern Western conception of subjectivity, and his grounding of the subject in an ethical heteronomous freedom, can help me to think about the experience of being together in difference with others in an educational setting. Reflecting on my time as a community philosophy practitioner in informal educational spaces, I will look at how this pedagogy opens up a space that facilitates an educational encounter with others that confronts participants with the sometimes difficult knowledge that the world may be otherwise than what they have taken it to be.

Learning to Talk to the “Other” – Postfoundational Perspectives on Emotions in Argumentation Trainings against Right-Wing Populism.

Nele Kuhlmann, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Right-wing populist parties are on the rise in many European countries. This is also the case in Germany. According to polls, the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland) could win more than 30 percent of the vote in some states and thus become the strongest force in the upcoming elections. Against this backdrop, workshops are currently being offered in many contexts to teach people how to talk to people with right-wing populist views and how to convince them to vote for another party. These workshops of civic education target educators and teachers as well as students. The workshops usually start with the presentation of knowledge about forms of discrimination and right-wing populism. In a second step, participants learn strategies for communication and argumentation, such as the strategy of challenging generalizations by asking concrete questions. Finally, the participants try out these strategies in various role-playing games in which they are asked to test their ability to speak out against right-wing populists. Other participants then take on the role of the discriminator. In the reflections after each exercise, participants are often asked to name their own emotions that were triggered during the practice. I intend to focus on these reflections on emotions in the context of the submitted paper, as they open up a conversation about civic education in times of right-wing populism.