The Priority of the Particular and the First Person

  • Stefan RamaekersEmail author
  • Judith Suissa
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 4)


The account in the previous chapter suggests that the dominant language of parenting fails to capture the richness of the parent–child relationship and the particular demands of the situation of individuals within this relationship. Here we explore recent philosophical work (by, e.g. Joseph Dunne, Alasdair MacIntyre, Richard Smith) on the idea of practice and the critique of the paradigm of ‘technical rationality’ and discuss how this account has been used by philosophers of education, especially with regard to teaching. We draw out the implications of the emphasis, in this work, on the priority of the particular, while also showing how the analogy between this account and our critique of the language of ‘parenting’ opens up other important questions about the parent–child relationship. We begin to develop what we call the first-person perspective in parent–child relationships in light of this philosophical work, exploring the meaning of ideas of practice, ‘ends’ and ‘aims’ in parent–child relationships, and suggesting connections with broader views of human flourishing.


Technical Rationality Good Parent Practical Wisdom Instrumental Rationality Dominant Discourse 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences Laboratory for Education and SocietyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Policy and Society Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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