Do historians (of education) need philosophy? The paper suggests that historians do not need philosophical doctrine or (meta-)theory, or philosophical method, but that in so far as historians (as Koselleck states) are “writing their own time anew” and are “rewriting the past” (and so enlighten their present), they might find some help in a particular philosophical ethos: an ethos of discomfort or “attentive study”. First, how Koselleck describes the price that (famous) historians have paid for writing their own time anew and for rewriting the past will be sketched. This price entails, as will be argued, an uncomfortable exposition and estrangement of the researcher or writer. It is then suggested that such exposition and estrangement is also what is at stake in the ethos of a particular philosophical tradition implying exercises or askemacr sis of uncomfortable exposition (or attentive study). This ethos will be sketched following Foucault, calling himself a “historian of the present”, not in order to intervene in the many controversies amongst historians surrounding his work but in order to support the initial suggestion that philosophy might be of some help for historians. Moreover the article will indicate how philosophy in this sense is intrinsically an educational endeavour (philosophy as education or paideia), although not an issue of learning (acquiring knowledge or competence).
Do historians (of education) need philosophy? The enlightening potential of a philosophical ethos.
Masschelein, J., & Simons, M. (2008). Do historians (of education) need philosophy? The enlightening potential of a philosophical ethos. Paedagogica historica, 44 (6), 647-660.