Educational Philosophy and Theory vol:45 issue:5 pages:494-497
Noddings’ radical choice for a particular stance in life is both what makes Happiness and Education a thought-provoking book and what sometimes leads me to some reservations. I first briefly outline some of these reservations and focus on what I think are two important difficulties Happiness and Education is facing: firstly the fact that Noddings’ radical choice for a particular conception of the good is likely to run into resistance and even incomprehension, and secondly, the observation that Noddings seems to be up against history itself by taking on the hierarchical valuation of intellectual work versus non-intellectual work. Second, I try to argue that these very difficulties, and the types of reactions they garner, show that Happiness and Education is at the same time a thought-provoking book, for it shows that, drawing on Wittgenstein, we seem to have reached bedrock. Following Stanley Cavell’s reading of Wittgenstein’s remark on the turning of our spade, I try to show that and how Happiness and Education throws us back upon ourselves, confronting us with our own educational present, hence exposing this present. The force of Noddings’ book lies, I argue, not so much in adducing reasons to persuade its readers, but in originating a slow turning of our educational present, towards a different educational future.