Special Issue Introduction: The Time for Nihilism—Philosophy, Metaphysics and Education


  • Nick Peim University of Birmingham


Educational alternatives, progressive education, alternative education, difference, educational theory, educational philosophy, home education, education policy


Fundamental Nothing

Ontological analysis of knowledge in education might begin by distinguishing between knowledge and the determining force that defines knowledge as significant or otherwise. Under the pressure of this division “knowledge itself†eludes any grasp. And without the ballast of a determinant knowledge, what becomes of education—except to be a technology of the self?

Fundamental conditions of possibility for knowledge are implicitly elaborated in Being and Time (1927). In What is Metaphysics? (1935) Heidegger rehearses some of the themes of Being and Time but gives attention to what he calls the  “nothing†that lies beyond the attention of science or practical knowledge. This metaphysical analysis has implications for understanding the foundations of knowledge—its ontological conditions. This is a dimension of understanding—a dimension of knowledge also, of course—that is effectively foreclosed in dominant accounts of education, and in particular, in what passes for...


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