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On the Rocky Road

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  • Gesellschaftsphilosophie
  • Politische Philosophie
  • Rechtsphilosophi
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology


Prosp_ii_5.doc Essay Gerhard Gelbmann 4th Version Appeared as "On the Rocky Road. A Polemic Against Managerialism in Philosophy and Education" in: Prospero. A Journal of New Thinking in Philosophy for Education 2005, 11, 2: 14-21 On the Rocky Road. A Polemic Against Managerialism in Philosophy and Education I. Recently I listened to an Austrian radio programme which broadcasted an interview with a known philosopher. He called Philosophy "a life - project". Although studying it does not provide one with a professional profile for the labour market, he tried to argue for the value, sense, importance, even usefulness of Philosophy in our times: as an alternative to the mainstream and as a resource for orientation. As a man gifted with eloquence, well-read and brilliantly in his manner of choosing his answers, he did his job fairly well. He was doing professional philosophy by standing up for it in public. This is not the only, but still a rather lonely, voice in public confronting the many voices which since the time I finished school in 1987 until today have not ceased demanding a stop to the "waste of money" on "luxury subjects" like the humanities. Instead, they say, pupils should get a fast, preferably practical education which fits them for the economical demands of our times. The earlier they enter the labour market, the better. Economy and enterprises ask for more computer scientists, technicians, psychologists, and doctors than for ethnologists, philosophers or artists. Society, it is maintained, cannot pay the price for some heavy brained men and women enjoying an intellectual freedom almost undisturbed by restraints: at a time when the public is confronted with financial cuts, when the pension systems are under reform, when unemployment increases and competition dearly asks for technological innovations. II. Well, neo-liberalism and managerialism, the omnipotent econometric thinking of our times, profit-

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