• Education, knowledge, and symbolic form

      Belas, Oliver; University of Bedfordshire (2017-12-20)
      This article aims to introduce Ernst Cassirer, and his philosophy of symbolic form, to education studies, and, in doing so, to challenge the widespread but deeply flawed views of knowledge and so-called knowledge-based education that have shaped recent education policy in England. After sketching the current educational landscape, and then some of the main lines of flight in Cassirer’s work, time is given to a comparison with Heidegger—a more familiar figure by far in Anglophone philosophy than Cassirer, and who contributed to the displacement of Cassirer—in order to illustrate more clearly Cassirer’s original contribution, in particular to the relationship between knowledge and time. Cassirer’s view of knowledge stands in marked and critical contrast to that which has shaped recent educational reform in England, as he sees knowledge as a productive and expressive matter, and repudiates what I call the ‘building-blocks’ picture of knowledge and the hierarchisation of subject areas.