Spinoza’s proposal for a doctrine of children’s education

Cristiano Novaes de Rezende
Vol 39, Number 1, p.28
The main objective of this article is to analyze the conceptual connection between the Doctrine of Children’s Education, briefly mentioned in Spinoza’s Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione (TIE), and the concept of emendation present at the very center of this Treatise’s title. A close textual exegesis of the opening paragraphs of TIE reveals why such a doctrine cannot be the ascetic renunciation of the content of ordinary life. We shall see instead that a new institution of life shall be possible only through a deep plunge into the understanding of ordinary confused life. A Spinozan Doctrine of Children’s Education shall then be conceived as a pedagogy guided by an error mapping principle, i.e., a pedagogy capable of amending the mistaken beliefs of students through their understanding of the way these are produced as real events in the world. This would be an immanent pedagogy, which could be relevant to any form of contemporary thought that seeks a truly liberating education.