Power and Pure Experience: A Metaphysics of Education
Edmonds, Jeffrey Sims
In this dissertation I use the philosophies of William James and Friedrich Nietzsche to draw a connection between metaphysical conceptions of experience and the meaning and practice of democratic education. I argue that without a coherent conception of experience, the meaning and social function of democratic education is unclear. In response to this problem, I develop a conception of experience as events of power that allows me to suggest that the Deweyan definition of education—the renewal of life by transmission—helps us to understand more clearly the role, institutions, and function of education in culture today. I deploy this metaphysics of experience in an analysis of some of the educative effects of large social forces such as war and religion in a democratic culture. Finally, I suggest that my conception of experience might help us understand how to make more democratic the relationship between explicitly educational institutions and the social forms of life in which they are imbedded.