The Song of the Earth: A pragmatic rejoinder
Stables, A., 2010. The Song of the Earth: A pragmatic rejoinder. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 42 (7), pp. 796-807.
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In 'The Song of the Earth', Jonathan Bate promotes ‘ecopoesis’, contrasting it with ‘ecopolitical’ poetry (and by implication, other forms of writing and expression). Like others recently, including Simon James and Michael Bonnett, he appropriates the notion of ‘dwelling’ from Heidegger to add force to this distinction. Bate's argument is effectively that we have more chance of protecting the environment if we engage in ecopoetic activity, involving a sense of immediate response to nature, than if we do not. This has obvious educational implications. If Bate, James and Bonnett are correct, then the educational pursuit of (eco)poetic sensibility will, of itself, contribute to education for a sustainable future by grounding human experience in nature; if their assertions are insupportable, and (eco)poetic sensibility does not afford privileged access to a state of nature, then the assumption cannot be made that the development of such sensibility will contribute to education for sustainability. I shall critique Bate's argument from a pragmatic perspective.
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