The Philosopher and I

Why working with a philosopher is equally challenging and rewarding.

On closer reflection about the Philosopher and I, and some bumps in our collaborative efforts, I have realised that I need to give semantics an increased significance. Working with the Philosopher my more or less careless ‘you know what I mean’ attitude became a constant source for challenge—because this is, what philosophers do.

The Philosopher always asks me questions, which answers to me are either blatantly obvious, or on occasion I had assumed I had already provided. These potholes of communication are much to my regret, down to semantics—which, I am learning to more carefully choose. The Philosopher forces me to rethink, to express more carefully and unambiguously the logic of my argument. As someone embracing ambiguity as ineluctable state of reality, punctilious logic is usually only something I entertain in verbal sparing matches or publications. However, the care I need to entertain in communicating with the Philosopher forces my cluttered mind to search for a clear form. Pre-emptively giving my language Gestalt, which it normally only gathers during a discussion.

Now as part of this rethinking process is, that I have grown uncomfortable with the terminology of ‘creative learning and teaching’ and meander more and more, and closer to German roots of speaking about creative pedagogy. I believe creative pedagogy, takes away the dichotomy between learner and teacher. Pedagogy I can understand better as the space where the teacher is not only the one who provides and the learner the one who receives, but integrates the teacher as learner and learner as teacher more comprehensively—purely from a semantic point of view. When using ‘creative learning and teaching’ as term I automatically create a bias of either the one or the other, while the term pedagogy offers the possibility of space.

Now this idea in itself is neither new, nor a personal earthshattering insight, but it demonstrates how working with the Philosopher impacts on challenging my assumed points of view and renegotiating these. Also I learned: if your thinking hits a wall, find yourself a philosopher to talk to.

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