Universalism and Judgements in Educational Encounters



In this chapter, using Sharon Todd’s notions of judgement and “cosmopolitics,” which is a contestation of cosmopolitan universalism, we contend that learners are not a homogeneous group with generally common fundamental interests. What constitutes their moral needs as moral persons seeking just encounters and relations can be met by a cosmopolitanism that emphasises and embeds common values only in the objective roles and rules that govern educational encounters. The chapter argues that learners are concrete beings with constitutively different moral needs and interests, which cannot all be couched up in impartialist terms in order to expect that adherence to impartial rules and roles will guarantee satisfaction of cosmopolitan ideals. Given this background, it is imperative that judgement-making in the university by teachers and others should not be restricted to Todd’s idea of scripted cosmopolitanism, but rather intersubjectivity must contextualise rules and roles to avoid the risk of ignoring and undermining legitimate moral interests that reside in a learner’s otherness as a concrete being.


Judgement Cosmopolitics Cosmopolitan universalism Moral needs Moral persons Encounters Common values Educational encounters University Teachers Scripted cosmopolitanism Risk Moral interests Learner Otherness 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of MalawiZombaMalawi
  3. 3.Department of AccountingUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  4. 4.Centre for Innovative Learning TechnologyCape Peninsula University of TechnologyCape TownSouth Africa
  5. 5.Faculty of EducationCape Peninsula University of TechnologyMowbraySouth Africa

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