Philosophical Allegories in Rousseau

“Philosophical Allegories in Rousseau”
Philosophy and Literature, Vol. 31, Number 1, April 2007, p. 67-78.

In this essay, I point to an aspect of doing philosophy that is both often overlooked and educationally important. This is the activity of constructing philosophical allegories, of describing or recounting parts of one’s life in more or less explicit philosophical terms. I exemplify this idea of philosophical allegory through readings of three tales in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiographical works. Finally, I point to how the exercise of this capacity for constructing philosophical allegories acts as a counter-force to the kind of melancholia that is now becoming a permanent cultural condition. Learning to see oneself as a philosophical image at least provides a semblance of deeper meaning to what otherwise seems meaningless.

Philosophy and Language Learning

“Philosophy and Language Learning”
Studies in Philosophy and Education 2007 ;Volum 26.(1) p. 43-56

In this paper, I explore different ways of picturing language learning in philosophy, all of them inspired by Wittgenstein and all of them concerned about scepticism of meaning. I start by outlining the two pictures of children and language learning that emerges from Kripke’s famous reading of Wittgenstein. Next, I explore how social-pragmatic readings, represented by Meredith Williams, attempt to answer the sceptical anxieties. Finally, drawing somewhat on Stanley Cavell, I try to resolve these issues by investigating what characteristically happens to our view of language learning when we do philosophy. The focus throughout is on the relation between the individual (the learning child) and the community (usually represented by the parents), and how that relation is deformed when we operate with a certain philosophical notion of ground.

Key words: Language; learning; children; Kripke; Cavell; Wittgenstein