Category Archives: Dropbox

Reading List! The Rediscovery of Teaching

Alan Sensei

Gert Biesta’s paper calls upon the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to explicate his argument that students are not served by adaptive teaching in spite of the rhetoric surrounding such ‘prevailing educational imaginary’ (p.378). He contends that this type of auto-didacticism means that the student remains ‘in her own mind’, able to make meaning of the world as she perceives and learns about it, yet,

“the self … can never out of its own generate a criterion with which to evaluate that which it is adjusting to” (p.388).

Biesta, arguing with Levinas, states that the student in this situation crucially lacks an intervention or, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say considering Levinas’ philosophy, an intercession, from another, an exteriority, who addresses her and in so doing, makes revelation. Without this,

the very ‘thing’ that cannot happen, the very ‘thing’ that can never ‘arrive’ in their universe, is the event of being addressed, that is, the event of being taught (p.388).

Levinas’ philosophy and Biesta’s explication is far more complex than can be summarised in this short comment, but I believe it revolves around an understanding of the teacher as generously and without expectation of return, interceding for the student by providing something akin to Sartre’s ‘look’ which reveals her to herself and awards her proper subjectivity and apprehension in and of the world and without promoting his own view of it.

I need to read this again to gain a better understanding of it.

Biesta, G. (2016). The Rediscovery of Teaching: On robot vacuum cleaners, non-ecological education and the limits of the hermeneutical world view. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 48(4), pp.374-392.

from Dropbox

Reading List! Identity and Identification

from Dropbox

Puppet on a string

By Jim McDougall from Glasgow, Scotland (Puppets on a String Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This journal article by Nishant Shah describes the Data Subject and Quantified Self as incarnations of the individual in networked societies, exploring the themes of his podcast on the Disconnected Self and with the aim of “rethink[ing] the political and social landscape” (2015, notes, p.25) of the posthuman.

Shah paints a portrait of the individual as she is constructed through datasets, where identity is conflated with identification, the result of a

crucial shift where the identity of a person is ontologically defined through the logics and logistics of networked computation

He unpacks the abiguity in whether

the data subject is the individual whose identity becomes the basis of validating the data, or whether the data subject is the identity of the individual as it gets constructed through the data sets (p.23).

Shah states that the individual

comes into being through predictive and self-correcting algorithms that develop correlations, curations and connections between disparate individuated transactions to produce a new understanding of the individual

and describes how, in an attempt to keep pace with this technological reinterpretation of the human (posthuman),

legal theories and regulatory mechanisms have already started facing the crisis of post-human action, trying to bridge the gap between the acting avatar and the culpable body. … Structures of law, governance, care and control have all been facing challenges as the individual becomes greater than and lesser than the human that has always been at the centre of our discourse and practice (p.25)

Shah’s description of the Aadhaar system and the protocols exacted by the database resonate with my current role as a system administrator in which, to me, the student has lost her affective, narrative and iterative personalities and become a unique id. Data integrity is paramount; it must be clean, finite, discrete, unique without individuality.

  • Students with the same name are frowned upon until blessed with the award of a unique number.
  • Students whose names are marked out by diacriticals are not tolerated, such blots on their identifiers removed to make them worthy records for the set.
  • Twins are a nuisance.
  • Double-barreled surnames are approached with caution.

Rendered database-fit, these non-beings have scattered articulations of additional information in discrete tables which are pulled together contingently to dance as puppets of themselves as demanded by censuses, government requests for information, organisational need or to number among the irrefutable statistics marshalled to support the argument of the day.

What relationship do these metonymic dolls have with the girls and boys I pass in the corridors, full of life and irreplicable irregularity?

I am wondering what I will make of my self as she is constructed by my own choices, ifttt algorithms, the requirements of EDC and the architecture of the WordPress platform?

Shah, N. (2015). Identity and Identification: The Individual in the Time of Networked Governance Socio-Legal Review, 11:2, pp.22-40