‘This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours’. Deconstructive pragmatism as a philosophy for education

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Abstract

One way to characterise pragmatism is to see it as a philosophy that placed communication at the heart of philosophical, educational and political thinking. Whereas the shift from consciousness to communication can be seen as a major innovation in modern philosophy, it is not without problems. This article highlights some of these problems and suggests a way ‘forward’ by staging a discussion between pragmatism and deconstruction. Although there are striking similarities between pragmatism and deconstruction, it is argued that pragmatism and deconstruction cannot sit as easily together as some authors assume. The reason for this is not that pragmatism and deconstruction are incompatible philosophies but rather that deconstruction occurs at the very heart of pragmatism. This implies that pragmatism can only retain its commitment to communication in philosophy, education and politics if it acknowledges and, in a sense, embraces the occurrence of deconstruction in communication. This suggests that the future of pragmatism as a philosophy for education o lies in its deconstruction, something which is expressed in the idea of a deconstructive rather than a deconstructed pragmatism.

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