Who are the persons who might participate in EdThought? This question reminds us at the outset that it is a person, a specific, autonomous agent, entangled in a world of circumstance, who uses a website, not a collectivity. EdThought is a website for the person who is thinking and acting as educator.
The Person as Educator
Potentially, this concept—the person who is thinking and acting as educator—applies to a very large number of persons, for all human experience has a formative aspect, in addition to its instrumental character, and anyone thinking and acting with reference to that formative aspect of experience is thinking and acting as educator.
In countless instances, however, a person will find it difficult to attend closely to the formative dimension of her experience, for the instrumental aspects of it often seem far more imperative. In the modern ethos, a person's circumstances usually offer little encouragement, provocation, or support for thinking consciously about formative experience. EdThought aspires to provide such encouragement, provocation, and support, raising awareness that each person continuously exercises power and has substantial responsibilities, as educator, with respect to the formative dimension of her experience. In that sense, the educator potentially denotes every person in an important aspect of all they do.
Yet, a portal for inquiry is more than a means for heightening awareness that all persons think and act as educator through their formative experience. Inquiry is an active condition, which implies an initial sense of possibilities and prospective goals. The person as educator starts inquiry with an initial sense that formative experience, as distinct from instrumental experience, harbors important possibilities and goals and merits fuller understanding. Instances of formative experience constitute the objects of study, the goals of inquiry, for the person thinking and acting as educator.
In addition, there are distinctive ways in which a person thinking and acting as educator can initiate inquiry, intuiting formative possibilities and goals in different, distinctive ways. Three of particular interest are the educator as the student, in the company of Socrates; as the scholar, in the manner of Aristotle; and as the public person, in the spirit of Plato.
We do not ignore the Teacher or the Parent, but deal with them as further differentiations of the public person, thinking and acting as educator. In much that the person as teacher and the person as parent think and do, each is thinking and doing as educator, but the circumstances entangling the person as teacher and the person as parent encrust the activities of each with countless instrumental imperatives. These are highly conventionalized and demand respect, but to distinguish the educator in the teacher or the parent amidst all the instrumentalities with which they cope, it is helpful to consider each as an important variant of the public person as educator.
- Bots that enable people to mine data and construct highly refined categories of Internet users do not disclose some sort of collective user, but rather abstract out a highly dehumanized fictions, useless for most things but highly profitable for a few, very specialized goals.
- Speaking of someone "as educator" differs from "as an educator," for the former describes as aspect of a person's actions whereas the latter characterizes the essential being of the person. The distinction is important: the former applies to any person considered as educator, whereas the latter distinguishes a particular person as an educator, set apart from other persons who would be identified as a soldier, as a lawyer, or as a mason. "As educator" refers to an aspect of a person's actions; "as an educator" states something about a person's identity. By speaking about the person as education, we can recognize that all persons think and act as educator in significant aspects of their lives.