As human beings, when do we find ourselves working at educating ourselves and each other?

As researchers, under what conditions can we say that we are observing human beings educating themselves and each other?

The first question is a philosophical one. The second question is a methodological one. They are also the same question since researchers cannot place themselves outside humanity. Answering one is also answering the other–though, to anticipate the argument I am making here, the issue is not quite one of “answering” (and settling) but one of moving the debate about humanity further. It is a matter of shifting the domains of our ignorance, of discovering what we do not already know (at least discursively), and of proposing how to proceed further.

The questions, as stated, proceed with a play on possibilities opened by the English pronominal system. I start (and end) with “when?” which I develop into “under what conditions”–eschewing other possibilities, like “why,” “how,” “where” and their many variations and expansions. “When” anchors this discussion in a temporal metaphor that is worth exploring much more systematically, particularly if, as I am arguing along with many others, education is about transformation in the life time of a person and the history of a polity.

By 2016, this exploration as morphed into a collective work with some of the my students.