‘Philosophizing with’ – a role for philosophy as dialogue partner, exemplified within the learning field

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Nina Bonderup Dohn


In this essay, I shall present key points from my dr.phil thesis (Higher Doctorate/Habilitation), Epistemological concerns – querying the learning field from a philosophical point of view (Dohn, 2017).1 The aim is to provide an overview of the thesis and to present its main argument for a form of applied philosophy where philosophy takes on the role of dialogue partner with a voice of its own. By way of illustration, I shall highlight some of the issues I have engaged with in this role as well as the answers which dialogue with other disciplines has led me to as regards these issues. First, I present the field, aim, and structure of the thesis. Second, I explicate what I mean by ‘philosophizing with’ and point out four different ways in which one can undertake this venture. Philosophy may dialogue with many disciplines in many areas; the ones I have engaged with fall within the learning field. To further the comprehensibility of my more specific concerns within this field, in the third section I articulate the philosophical outset from which I speak: With inspiration from Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein and Dreyfus, I hold a view of human existence as being-in-the-world and an approach to knowledge as fundamentally involving tacit aspects. This outset is developed throughout the thesis, in dialogue with other disciplines. In section four, I briefly present the resulting philosophical view of knowledge. In section five, I articulate more specifically a number of the issues within the learning field which have helped me develop this view. Section six conversely summarizes some key points which my philosophizing with on these issues have led me to contribute to the disciplines. I end with a few concluding remarks on concerns to engage with in continuation from the results of my thesis.

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Dohn, N. B. (2018). ‘Philosophizing with’: – a role for philosophy as dialogue partner, exemplified within the learning field. Communication & Language at Work, 5(1), 3–17. https://doi.org/10.7146/claw.v5i1.108096