The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Learning Styles: An Essay on Megarianism and Emancipation in Educational Potentiality

  • Michael P. A. MurphyEmail author


The status of learning styles theory in educational studies is uncertain as we inhabit the liminal phase between the theory’s death as proclaimed by educational psychologists who avow to have disproven it and whatever afterlife will follow. At this moment, with both past and future in view, that we have an opportunity to reflect on the foundational assumptions of the theory. Engaging in the growing community of Agambenian philosophy of education and the ongoing dialogue around educational potentiality, this article approaches learning styles theory as a paradigm of educational Megarianism. In this frame, the error of the learning styles theorists was not in the construction of a particular typology, but in the metaphysical approach to pedagogy. The reflection upon learning styles as paradigm also contributes a paradigmatic case of educational Megarianism to the discussion of potentiality in Agambenian philosophy of education.


Giorgio Agamben Potentiality Megarianism Aristotle Philosophy of Education Emancipation Learning Styles Diversity 



Funding was provided by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I would like to thank the editor and reviewers of Studies in Philosophy and Education for their thoughtful engagement with prior versions of the article. The opinions and arguments expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the Algonquin & Lakeshore CDSB.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

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