In so many of our practices it is difficult to stand outside the full force of the groundings of what Deleuze called ‘state philosophy’. Such philosophy has invented the thinking subject and the mind[i].  Along with these inventions are created the many scientific/technological concepts circulating in Foucault’s ‘regimes of truth’ – being linked in a circular relation with systems of power that sustain and produce them: they are brought into alignment with understandings of truth as the end of thought, and justice represented as the end of action. When coupled with the delimiting and exclusive set of properties associated with each term, consonant with extant laws, such regimes have become almost sublimely overwhelming in our everyday practices. It has become almost impossible to step outside such representational thinking.

Currently I am undertaking a critical examination of the repetition/reiteration of signs. It is based upon deconstructive readings[ii] of Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. I chose these two poems because it is generally agreed that they in some way give expression to aspects of existence three millennia ago at the heart of the Bronze Age. What is so striking already from my preliminary study are the metaphysical reiterations of the will-to-power found in representations of practices consonant with their guiding regimes of truth in the Bronze age still form the basis for social order in most of our societies now. Striking, too, is the violent modus operandi of such regimes based upon the logic of negation: x=x= not y; this logic being aligned with the structures of language that always already have the capacity to include, exclude and to make exceptions. I am using violence in the sense not only of doing physical harm to someone [manifestly this is always possible in political regimes such as IS], and something [patently the effects of an ever-burgeoning global population, and of capitalism sweeping nearly every corner of the globe are now obvious], but also as the selection of aspects of violent practice in our essential home, our languages [in accord with the logic of negation] arising from the exclusion of other aspects rendered in a ‘state of exception’.

As an educationalist one aspect of such regimes that particularly concerns me is education.  As my title question suggests I am concerned that much of the practice of what we call ‘education’, together with the social sciences, is in danger of being pulled into the logic of negation.

There are, of course, other logics that could provide the basis for cultivating education and social order in our societies, not least the open-ended logic of difference: x + q + m +…. which is given structure by moves towards justice, when confronted with laws inscribed in everyday practice. ‘Justice to come’ in this particular logic, as Derrida explores, is not the same as representations of justice; it remains open-ended, continually on the move, continually open to deconstruction challenging extant laws.

An education in such logic, no longer re-iterates homogeneous economies, but challenges us with unconditional, impossible and incalculable dimensions of everyday practice without which homogeneous economies could not exist. Is it not time, therefore, to transform education into practices that both cultivate and ride difference?

[i] Rorty, R. [2009{1979}] Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature [Thirtieth-Anniversary Edition], Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

[ii] Weil, S. [2005] ‘The Iliad or the Poem of Force’ trans. McCarthy, in Benfey, C. with Broch, H., War and the Iliad, New York: Review Books: 1-38.


Dr Kevin J. Flint

Reader in Education

Telephone: 01158483971

Mobile: 07531754709



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