Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase in philosophical inquiries of hope both in philosophy of mind and of virtue as well as in the philosophy of education. This paper wishes to add to this discussion by presenting the analysis of hope by French existentialist philosopher and theologian Gabriel Marcel and examining its possible contribution to educational practices and beliefs. As one of the very few modern, systematic accounts of hope, Marcel’s provocative conception of it and his critique of its common “technical” use could prove promising when applied to educational theory and practice. Following Marcel, I argue that in hope we find a complex and possibly contradictory view of the future: as a result of planning and technical problem-solving on one hand, and on the other, as an inclination towards the mysterious and radically unexpected. I suggest that maintaining educational hope within the tension between the planned and the unexpected, and specifically rejecting a complete disenchantment of the educational act, could help in securing education from being reduced to instrumental training and socializing, opening it up to new and unimaginable possibilities.
- Gabriel Marcel
- John Dewey
- Philosophy of hope
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