The struggle to love: Pedagogical Eros and the gift of transformation

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Why does anyone become a teacher, and why a student? Education in its contemporary form has evolved into a subsystem of society in which professional ‘teachers/ educators’ are confronted with an ever-changing group of people called ‘pupils/students’; and the individuals in both groups now have to deal with this institutionalised confrontation. Neither one nor the other decision—to become a teacher or to become a student—seems to have much to do with a specific other person, and it certainly does not have much to do with the actual person(s) that one is related to by becoming a teacher or by becoming a student in a specific institution. However, if pedagogical relations were as depersonalised as suggested, why is it that teachers as well as students hold very different relations to different students and teachers—relations that are more or less ‘deep’, ‘affectionate’, ‘successful’? And how are we to perceive education outside of formally institutionalised contexts (or those special relations that occur even within formalised contexts but transcend them)? Is there another type of pedagogical relationship? And what would be the reasons for entering into a pedagogical relationship other than becoming and being made a part of a subsystem of society? Why do two people gravitate towards each other, freely recognising each other as teacher and student? Attempting to answer those questions, the following paper revisits some historic positions, being conscious that those answers are also part of the answer to a much greater question: What is education?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-559
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019


  • history of education
  • philosophy of education
  • comparative education
  • pedagogicval relation
  • platonic love
  • pedagogy

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