A Critical Hermeneutics of the Use of Custom in Education: Hexis into Praxis

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G. V. Loewen


Aims: To understand the relationship between what students understand to be their knowledge and what the educational system takes to be its knowledge. The latter appears to replace the former in some manner and it is this process which the article seeks to expose and comprehend. How does local custom come to be used as a vehicle for a wider and more anonymous set of pragmatic models?
Study Design: Philosophical analysis
Methodology: A series of questions that interrogate both the hermeneutic commentaries on pedagogy and critique the rationalized character of the education system are combined with an interpretive commentary.
Results: The techniques of instrumental praxis are taught and learned in educational systems by mimicking the forms of custom, the 'hexis' of primary socialization. A philosophical interrogation of this relationship yields a new sensibility: that the outcome of a practical wisdom, or phronesis, is short-circuited by the idea that praxis can be both uncritical and only content based. This extension of the norms and forms of what is customary into the formal education system allow the latter's contents to be digested as merely more advanced tools and skills for living in the everyday, rather than as an authentic praxis, the 'applied theory' which practices both critique and dialectic. The necessary relationship between experience and knowledge is thus lost, and the outcomes of educational systems tend to be a simple amassing of information or a technical ability that dangerously narrows the human project and forgets its condition.

Hermeneutics, hexis, praxis, custom, discourse, education, pedagogy

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How to Cite
Loewen, G. V. (2012). A Critical Hermeneutics of the Use of Custom in Education: Hexis into Praxis. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 2(2), 202-219. https://doi.org/10.9734/BJESBS/2012/1229
Original Research Article