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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A Call for Abnormal Discourse

Postmodern educational theorist Richard Rorty challenges our assumption of what education can, and should be. To conservatives (in the broadest sense), education is about learning eternal truths. The stillborn brainchild of this important and influential philosophy is Bush's "NO Child Left Behind Act", or his "No Child's Behind Left Act", as Palast characterizes it. Education is more than standards, benchmarks, and jumping through hoops. Learners of all ages and intellectual abilities succeed when they bring themselves to what they study, and create something new and unique from a conversation with a text.

As Rorty says, we don't need normal discourse, but rather "abnormal discourse". To Rorty, "normal discourse" is the route to maintaining knowledge, whereas "abnormal discourse" is the means of generating new knowledge.

Sometimes abnormal discourse is produced when someone is ignorant of the prevailing rules governing discourse; for example, someone from another culture. Sometimes this discourse is generated when someone sets the rules aside and willfully challenges authority and orthodoxy. In essence: Transcendence through shamelessness. Iconoclasts unite!

It's my intention to provide a forum for "abnormal discourse"...Say anything!

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