Value-based education

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Special thanks to Prof. Alex Hankey for the invitation

Further readings


Thomson, I. (2001). Heidegger on Ontological Education, or: How We Become What We Are. Inquiry, 44(3), 243–268. |Direct download via SciHub

Abstract: Heidegger presciently diagnosed the current crisis in higher education. Contemporary theorists like Bill Readings extend and update Heidegger’s critique, documenting the increasing instrumentalization, professionalization, vocationalization, corporatization, and technologization of the modern university, the dissolution of its unifying and guiding ideals, and, consequently, the growing hyper-specialization and ruinous fragmentation of its departments. Unlike Heidegger, however, these critics do not recognize such disturbing trends as interlocking symptoms of an underlying ontological problem and so they provide no positive vision for the future of higher education. By understanding our educational crisis ‘ontohistorically’, Heidegger is able to develop an alternative, ontological conception of education which he hopes will help bring about a renaissance of the university. In a provocative reading of Plato’s famous ‘allegory of the cave’, Heidegger excavates and appropriates the original Western educational ideal of Platonic paideia, outlining the pedagogy of an ontological education capable of directly challenging the ‘technological understanding of being’ he holds responsible for our contemporary educational crisis. This notion of ontological education can best be understood as a philosophical perfectionism, a re-essentialization of the currently empty ideal of educational ‘excellence’ by which Heidegger believes we can reconnect teaching to research and, ultimately, reunify and revitalize the university itself.

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Edwards, M. A., & Roy, S. (2017). Academic Research in the 21st Century: Maintaining Scientific Integrity in a Climate of Perverse Incentives and Hypercompetition. Environmental Engineering Science, 34(1), 51–61. |Direct download via SciHub:

Abstract: Over the last 50 years, we argue that incentives for academic scientists have become increasingly perverse in terms of competition for research funding, development of quantitative metrics to measure performance, and a changing business model for higher education itself. Furthermore, decreased discretionary funding at the federal and state level is creating a hypercompetitive environment between government agencies (e.g., EPA, NIH, CDC), for scientists in these agencies, and for academics seeking funding from all sources-the combination of perverse incentives and decreased funding increases pressures that can lead to unethical behavior. If a critical mass of scientists become untrustworthy, a tipping point is possible in which the scientific enterprise itself becomes inherently corrupt and public trust is lost, risking a new dark age with devastating consequences to humanity. Academia and federal agencies should better support science as a public good, and incentivize altruistic and ethical outcomes, while de-emphasizing output.

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Erich Seligmann Fromm (/frɒm/; German: [fʁɔm]; March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was a German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was a German Jew who fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States. He was one of the founders of The William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in New York City and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory.

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Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
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