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Socratic Dialogue Faces the History

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Dialogical Inquiry as Philosophical and Politically Engaged Way of Life

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This essay will demonstrate the nexus between philosophical dialogue and political action by analyzing the work of Leonard Nelson and his disciples Gustav Heckman and Minna Specht. The central question is: “In which sense can a dialogical education be considered as a political action?”In the 1920s and 1930s, Nelson promoted Socratic dialogue amongst his students as a practice of freedom in opposition to the rising Nazi power. Nelson understood that to educate the new generation through a very participative model of philosophical inquiry that privileged critical thinking and autonomy was the best form of resistance. Minna Specht’s idea of education for confidence gave to this dialogical practice a very innovative dimension, which led her to be engaged with UNESCO’s educational programs in post-war Germany. In this way, the Socratic dialogue faced history.

Affiliations: 1: Eidyn Centre, University of EdinburghUK


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