Dr. Suzi Adams (Flinders University): Rethinking Castoriadis, Paideia, and Autonomy: Imagination, Creativity, Interpretation, and Critique
Suzi Adams is visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series.
This paper introduces Cornelius Castoriadis’s thought on paideia (education, socialization) as it relates to his elucidation of the project of autonomy. He developed an account of paideia in his later thought, and, although it overlaps with perspectives on pedagogy and Bildung, for example, his approach to it is typically distinctive. Although all societies institute paideia in their own way, for Castoriadis, autonomous societies, through their institution of an emphatic paideia, do not just engender subjects who internalize the institution (as per heteronomous societies) but instead nurture subjects to interrogate the social institution with lucid reflectiveness and deliberative action. Castoriadis’s polarization of autonomous and heteronomous societies, however, mean that he is not able to recognize partial and implicit openings onto autonomy in traditionally heteronomous contexts. Yet as this paper will show, for Castoriadis, it is the creative imagination that makes critique (and knowledge) possible, not reason. Furthermore, the subject who offers such critique is always already in society and in-the-world. Through hermeneutic reconstruction, the paper will argue that the works of the imagination are not just creative but interpretative and that this interpretative dimension is strengthened through the human condition being in-the-world. As this paper will show, the interpretative dimension allows intercultural approaches to paideia and autonomy to open up.