A Philosophical Reconstruction of Modernism for Existential Learning

By René V. Arcilla

Subjects: Philosophy Of Education, Aesthetics, Education
Paperback : 9781438429267, 131 pages, January 2011
Hardcover : 9781438429250, 131 pages, December 2009

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Table of contents

1. Modernism: A Pedagogical Culture?
2. Existential Learning
3. Strangerhood
4. Presentmindedness
5. Counterconsumerism
6. Examples
7. Who Is a Mediumist Educator?

Explores the contemporary pedagogical significance of modernism.


Mediumism considers what the modernist movement in the arts could mean for us today. It examines how artists and critics, particularly in the visual arts, responded to the growth of industries of distraction since the nineteenth century by creating new kinds of artworks that stress their mediums. René V. Arcilla draws out the metaphysical and ethical implications of the work of critics Clement Greenberg, T. J. Clark, and Michael Fried from a perspective rooted in existentialism. He finds in the resulting moral orientation a way to understand the distinctive purpose of liberal education and its political resistance to consumerism. Eschewing terminology that would be familiar to only one set of specialists, the book aims to be accessible to a general audience as well as to readers interested in modernist art, cultural politics, existentialist philosophy, and the philosophical principles of liberal education.

René V. Arcilla is Associate Professor of Educational Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of For the Love of Perfection: Richard Rorty and Liberal Education and the coeditor (with David T. Hansen and Mary Erina Driscoll) of A Life in Classrooms: Philip W. Jackson and the Practice of Education.


"Arcilla presents a rich conceptual analysis of existentialist thought as it is reflected in aesthetic, cultural, and educational contexts … his short book offers readers a mini-course in liberal education. " — CHOICE