Rebirth of value: meditations on beauty, ecology, religion, and education

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On the other hand, she could attempt to fuse them all together into a coherent framework, thought system or what has become known as a grand narrative, and apply this system systematically and conscientiously for the purpose of attaining certain predictable pedagogical outcomes. As will be argued below, the first approach could be seen as post-modernistic or post-foundationalist, and the second as modernistic or foundationalist.

These terms will be explained in more detail as the argument unfolds. There is a third possibility, however, and that is the main thrust of this article, namely an attempt could be made on the part of the educator who wishes to educate on the basis of Biblical principles to steer a course between these alternatives, a third way which we will refer to below as a post-post-foundationalist approach to education theory and practice based on Biblical principles.

We live in times that are characterised by the coexistence of all three of these perspectives; it has therefore become necessary for educators working on the basis of Biblical principles to reflect on the viability of these possible orientations and to decide upon the one that would best suit an attempt to educate from a Biblical perspective.

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The purpose of this article is to help with such reflection. In order to reach its goal, the remainder of this article is structured as follows. The next section contains an analysis of a recent contribution towards post-post-foundationalism in which two points are raised: the need to develop an approach appropriate for post-post-foundationalist times, and the need to develop a post-post-foundationalist Biblical worldview per se.

The sections thereafter are devoted to discussions of foundationalism, post-foundationalism and post-post-foundationalism and their implications for education on Biblical grounds. The article concludes with a recommendation about the way forward for education from a Biblical perspective. Olthuis recently made a noteworthy attempt to move the notion of a Biblical worldview into the arena of 21st century postmodern thought. He firstly asserted that there seems to be general agreement that "there are no innocent, unbiased ways of looking at the world, that everyone wears glasses and looks at the world through a particular lens, window or frame, the idea of worldview has become common currency" Olthuis Postmodernism has vindicated the notion among Christian scholars that "all knowledge is perspectival, worldview-ish, rooted in a particular historical and cultural setting, rather than universal or absolute" Olthuis None of us, he claims, begins from a position of innocence; prejudices are not all bad - they are the frames worldviews from which we see the world and make sense of it.

We all begin and end in the surrender of faith. We all work from a certain spiritual vantage point cf.

Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education

Olthuis Postmodernism, he continues Olthuis , does not need to be seen as the enemy; he substantiates this by saying that in his article he "will be arguing that, in a number of important aspects, Postmodernism is more a boon than a bane to the cause of Christ. Indeed, as [he sees] it, there are a number of cardinal features of Postmodernism that deserve to be recognised, honoured and accounted for in a Christian worldview - even if, in terms of the Gospel, they will be revised, even radicalised, in what [he] calls a post-postmodern biblical worldview" Olthuis In view of this, Olthuis made the bold move to seek for an alternative, which he formulates as follows: "How best do we advocate - and if necessary, rework or recalibrate - a biblical worldview in our postmodern world of the 21st century?

Indeed, I will be working towards the formation of what I will be calling a post-postmodern Christian worldview. Analysis of this intention shows that Olthuis has touched on two different problems. He firstly speaks of a Biblical worldview IN and FOR our postmodern world of the 21st century, and secondly, of the formulation of a post-postmodern worldview per se. These two formulations have implications for the future of a Biblical worldview in the modern world: a A biblical worldview IN and FOR a postmodern cultural dispensation may remain unchanged in itself; we only need to find ways to make it plausible and acceptable in order to stem the tide of secularism; the Biblical worldview itself remains in essence untouched.

The question then arises whether a Biblical worldview could be reworked in such a manner. Will it not lose its intrinsic Biblical character? Olthuis seems to think that such a change or adaptation is possible, hence his claim that "there are certain cardinal features of Postmodernism that deserve to be recognised, honoured and accounted for in a Christian worldview Although, as far as could be established, Olthuis has made a breakthrough with his effort to revisit the Christian worldview in order to move beyond foundationalism modernism and post-foundationalism postmodernism , he was not the first to attempt such a move.

In reaction, cultural philosopher Frederick Turner a, b, a, b, , for instance, came up with the idea of a radical centre of values, a stance that according to him evades both the rigid formalism and moralism of foundationalism and the relativism of post-foundationalism. Turner passim was convinced that in postmodern circumstances people find it difficult to share the same value system, and he came up with the idea of a solvent in the form of a radical centre of values that could help people come to an understanding of a common medium for all kinds of cultural information, a set of values that all people potentially could agree to, and on which they could base their future interactions with one another Turner a, He argued that as the human race recognised itself as a "we" it will be more and more surprised by the otherness of the other.

Turner made this claim in the hope that moral values may one day be less arbitrary and thus more negotiable than they are today. In brief, Turner b hoped that it might be possible to develop some universal norms from an understanding of human nature. In his own way, according to Talen and Ellis , Turner defined a position that "rejects Turner's thesis of a radical centre of values has echoed in the thoughts of others from a variety of religious, philosophical and life view perspectives , such as Hampshire , who contended that the problem of different and frequently conflicting values can be resolved through arbitration in a rational and logical way by people intent on peacefully living together.

Bower also argued that values were largely universal, and Grayling that an informed mind will come out in favour of the truth. Harris searched for a structure that reflects and enforces our deeper understanding of human well-being. The core of the radical centre of values, according to Talen and Ellis , 37 , is the thesis that there are durable, lasting and time-tested truths, values and discoveries that might be gleaned from the value systems that all individuals hold.

Needleman's "ethics of the threshold" theory and Makrides' , trans-confessional theory are also akin to Turner's radical centre of values thesis. In Talen and Ellis' opinion, there is a need for such normative theorising in a world stripped of meaning by postmodernism and reductionist views of nature and society. Our view of the world, Needleman insists, should be based on our answers to the question who one is, what one ought to be and how one ought to behave.

People need a society that is relatively free from unpredictability Parekh , something that is impossible in the fluid conditions of postmodernism. A comparison of the post-post-modern approaches of Olthuis see previous section and Turner cum suis reveals that whereas the latter aimed at discovering a radical centre of values in a secular non-religious, non-spiritual, non-faith sense, Olthuis aimed at getting around the value fluidity of postmodernism by suggesting an overhaul of the Christian or Biblical worldview or at least a reinterpretation of certain basic tenets of the Christian worldview in terms that would make sense in postmodern conditions.

Turner cum suis seemed to search for common ground in a set of shared secular values, which according to Swartz , Zecha and Nieuwenhuis must unavoidably be minimalistic. This does not mean, however, that Christians cannot participate in a search for common ground in terms of shared values. Van der Walt , for instance, mentions the possibility of searching for common values through interactive dialogue, Powlinson sought for a unifying perspective and Lategan suggests that "certain intellectual judgements" could perform this task.

While radical Christian thinkers such as Van der Walt, Powlinson and Lategan, including educationists such as the author of this article, understand the value of searching for a radical centre of values where people of different religious and worldview persuasion could meet and interact for the sake of peaceful coexistence, they find this solution to the problem of getting around both foundationalism and post-foundationalism unsatisfactory because of the thinness or minimalistic nature of the values in the radical value centre.

The way shown by Olthuis is more satisfactory in that it conforms to Christians' calling as children of the Lord. The remainder of this article is, therefore, devoted to a tentative search for a post-post-foundationalist approach to education based on Biblical principles. Foundationalism, in the "classical" sense, was part of the Enlightenment project: human reason was supposed to be able to attain certain knowledge based on self-evident foundational experiences or a priori propositions from which necessary and universal conclusions could be reached.

Absolutism guided the definition of Reason with a capital "R". In some cases, foundationalists saw scientific language as attempting to re-present a meta-narrative System with a capital "S" that corresponds precisely to reality, while others settled for a local-narrative system with a lower case "s" that is merely internally coherent Schults A modernist or foundationalist approach to life is characterised by the assumption that there are certain fixed and firm foundations in the form of widely accepted norms, principles or values, usually embodied in life and world views or in philosophical systems Makrides It is also characterised by a systematic appeal to human reasoning to gain an understanding of reality Makrides , , It assumes that we have foundational beliefs that are independent of the support of other beliefs Schults In its quest for a totalizing knowledge of the truth, foundationalism privileges epistemology as the primary enterprise of philosophy Schults While Christian educationists reject the foundationalist deification of reason and the certainty sought within the modern project, inter alia in its positivistic guise Makrides , they also question, together with the postmodernists post-foundationalists , the validity of all-encompassing narratives and absolute claims for capturing and understanding reality in an objective way.

They do not, however, go as far as some post-, anti- or non-foundationalists as to take total leave of firm foundations in the form of the norms, principles or values that they glean or derive from the Bible and which are embodied in a Biblical life and worldview. Generally speaking, post-foundationalists postmodernists tend to hold the belief that reality is more complex and multi-layered than one might at first glance think, and hence requires a more flexible and open attitude that allows for the existence of even contradictory perspectives Makrides As mentioned, post-foundationalism has generally moved away from all-encompassing narratives and absolute claims for capturing and understanding reality in an objective way.

Since humans are seen as forming an integral part of reality, intending to understand it not as outside or neutral observers but as involved persons, the attainment of final, precise, objective and perennial knowledge about things may be seen as rather illusory, undermining the optimism about correct knowledge, the necessity to control the world, the dream of absolute certainty and the making of universal claims that are supported in one or the other form in the modern context.

Postmodernism as post-foundationalism stands rather for the relativity and the partiality of all human discourses, a pluralism of methods and approaches, the multidimensionality of reality, and the potential of mixing seemingly incompatible perspectives Makrides Postmodernists - post-foundationalists, as they will henceforth be referred to - see the world as multi-layered, plural and tolerant, allowing many, even mutually contradictory standpoints in their ranks. Post-foundationalism also has a relativising character that rejects notions of exclusivity, absoluteness in the sense of thinking on the basis of firm and solid norms or life view foundations Makrides Post-foundationalists not only question but also reject the systematic appeal to human reasoning but also relativise a systematic appeal to human reasoning and recognise the contingency and limitations of human discursive verbal and non-verbal potential and practices when attempting to gain an understanding of reality Makrides , , They have relinquished the dream of controlling the world, of absolute certainty and the making of universal claims.

They rather stand for the relativity and the partiality of all human discourse, a pluralism of methods and approaches, the multidimensionality of reality, and the potential of mixing seemingly incompatible perspectives Makrides Post-foundationalists believe, says Schults , 8 , that we cannot get "behind" or "under" our beliefs to justify them; all we have are the criteria of coherence with other beliefs within our culturally conditioned web.

Educationalists and educators who base their pedagogical work on Biblical principles and norms find a radical post-foundationalist approach to education as unacceptable as a foundationalist approach, and indeed for the reasons discussed in the following section with reference to Richard Rorty's post-, anti- or non-foundationalist views.

Rorty's views are relevant in pedagogical context because of his ideas about edification.

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In developing his views regarding this subject, he tends not only towards a post-foundational view but also to an anti- or non-foundationalist stance. The need for a firmer "principiah 1 " foundation. According to Wright , Rorty's views could mean the end of education as we know it because they imply a detachment of knowledge from reality; understanding could be equated with unconstrained imagination, solipsistic experience and interpretation, and education limited to the role of stimulating private desires. Beauty and Education. Joe Winston - - Routledge.

Meditations on Nature, Meditations on Silence. Beauty: A Foundation for Environmental Ethics. Richard Cartwright Austin - - Environmental Ethics 7 3 L'estetica del giovane Hegel. Roger Scruton - - Oxford University Press. Nicholas Wade - - Penguin Press. De Clercq - - Journal of Aesthetic Education 47 2 Nick Zangwill - - In Jerrold Levinson ed. Oxford University Press. Who Engages with Moral Beauty?

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Long - - American Journal of Bioethics 10 4 Community, and Lifestyle, and Also See Sessions,". The Return of Beauty? To stop, calm the mind and observe in silence the flow of mental and bodily states and those of the world around us, is the most distinctive act of mindfulness.

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Aesthetic and artistic contemplation, especially of nature, in the process of seeking illumination is relevant to Buddhism. Lomas [ 17 ] states that 'in Zen, art is regarded as a particularly potent way of communicating spiritual truths, indeed, far more so than discursive prose.

The idea of the void is central in Buddhism, especially in Zen. It is a concept which is not related to being empty in the sense of not having any contents. In Buddhism, the nature of the human mind and of all phenomena is emptiness, meaning that its nature is empty. It is the notion that nature is beyond our ability to perceive with our senses and our ability to conceptualise. It conveys a sense of possibility that all can be overcome or everything can happen. Nothing exists, except in interrelationship with everything else. Stated differently, when we speak of emptiness, we do not mean nothingness but, to the contrary, an unlimited potential to appear, change, relate or disappear.

Given that the nature of our mind is emptiness, we possess the capacity to experience an unlimited variety of thoughts, emotions and sensations. The Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han describes the idea of substance as a central concept in Western thought. He states that it is constitutive of the unity and selfness of the being.

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