Education in post-factual times

In scope of the current course topics, I looked at a recent article in the Swiss newspaper NZZ (17 June 2017) about ‘Education in a post-factual era (Schule im postfaktischen Zeitalter)’

The German author Reinhardt refers to an agreement in German education system from 1976, the Beutelsbach Consensus where the role of the teacher was articulated: Prohibition against overwhelming the student, Treating controversial subjects as controversial, and Supporting a position to analyze a political situation from personal interests of students.

Stefan513593 - part3 notes -log

Stefan513593 – part3 notes -log

Bottomline is the challenging positiong that teacher have between pluralism and defending ‘facts’ and ‘truth’. In the current political situation of populism and ‘faked news’ on some areas, the question of truth and facts became a hot topic again. The author relates some ideas of the current discourse back to the post-structuralist and constructivist concept of social constructed reality. A topic I reflected on earlier – ‘Postmodern truth and political conditions

He argues for a critical reflective argumentation, a skill that should be a key aspect in education. Nevertheless, he is also raising the question whether a teacher should stay ‘neutral’  and how a value- and norm-based education can have a place in today’s system.

The author’s conclusion is that a positioning against populism should be an interdiscplinary matter that includes natural science.


Reflecting on current discourse of ‘faked-news’ versus a factual truth and considering a post-modernist position that was challenged by A. Sokal 1994 (‘Sokal hoax‘) it seems like walking at the edge between finding ones own ‘reality’ versus defending positions based on agreed ‘facts’ or common sense. However, it seems that a paradigm shift is happening where not only social media reality, but the social reality as such is put into question. For me, it sounds like a compelling urge to find a stable ground to live on.

In the next exercise 3.1, I will look deeper in external realities, facts and truth. R.W. Emerson from a naturalist and transcendentalist postition in 19th century and J. R. Searle from a post-modernist, constructivist position.

Looking at art the question would be what role can art play? What is the position of an artist, of me, now? Art history was addressing the question of mimesis, illusion, and representation since long time. Perhaps art can play a new presentational or re-presentational role? Or more a role of raising awareness? At times subversive, e.g. Sokal and Modernist Art, or bold and aggressive as the YBA?



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