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Educação & Realidade

versão impressa ISSN 0100-3143versão On-line ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.43 no.2 Porto Alegre abr./jun. 2018  Epub 06-Nov-2017 

Thematic Section: School Education in Perspective

Ethics and Aesthetics are One? What could this have to do with school Education?

Fausto dos Santos Amaral FilhoI 

IUniversidade Tuiuti do Paraná (UTP), Curitiba/PR - Brazil


From the two questions present in the title of this text, we understand, answering to the first question, that what identifies Ethics and Aesthetics is language’s polysemic grounding, in contraposition to science’s monosemic language. Therefore, going to the second question, still taking language into account, we were able to find a Modern and Postmodern interpretation as well as ways for Education to be inserted therein. Trying to overcome a monosemic point of view on Education, we started thinking on the possibilities of what we can call academic polysemy.

Keywords: Ethics and Aesthetics; Education; Modernity; Academic Polysemy


A partir das duas perguntas que intitulam o presente artigo compreende-se, ao responder à primeira, que aquilo que identifica Ética e Estética é o fundamento polissêmico da linguagem que as constitui, em contraposição à linguagem monossêmica da Ciência. Assim, passando para a segunda pergunta, sem deixar o horizonte da linguagem, encontramos uma interpretação da Modernidade e da Pós-modernidade e os modos da Educação de situar-se aí. Quando, então, tentando superar uma visão monossêmica da Educação, passa-se a pensar nas possibilidades daquilo que se pode chamar de polissemia escolar.

Palavras-chave: Ética e Estética; Educação; Modernidade; Polissemia Escolar

Wittgenstein, at the end of his Tractatus, states “[...] Ethics and Aesthetics are One” (1987, p. 138). In addition, they would be destined to be those things before which we should keep quiet, being unable to speak propositionally and truthfully (Wittgenstein, 1987, p. 142). Thus, what binds, while identifying, Ethics and Aesthetics is precisely the fact that they are outside the scope of the guiding values of propositional truth, which illustrate the structures of reality3. Both do not share the necessary assumptions to be included in the limits of logical language and, therefore, in addition to meaning (lógos semantikós), they can add to themselves the ability to tell the truth and falsity of things (lógos apophantikós). But what shares them, then?

Well, it is no news that logic structures the perfect language for Science. However, today, in an increasingly circumscribed way, that which encloses the logical language is delimited by the horizon of natural sciences, through their empirical-formal procedures. Thus, every word which corresponds to one entity whose way of being in the world may be permeated by calculation becomes one more instrument (órganon) of the machinery needed to achieve stating what the world really is.

But how can one word reach this kind of correspondence? It is already said. As long as it corresponds to one entity. That is, as long as its semantic potential is repressed by the requirements of that same entity to which it decided to correspond, remaining silent regarding everything else. Constantly reaffirming the identity of the correspondent, the word acquires an identity status for itself; precisely that which fits the identity of the correspondent. In this way, such word is bound to, repeatedly, always say the same thing. Always saying the same is what properly keeps it in the security of correspondence (adaequatio) and, therefore, perfectly adjusted to enter the propositional calculation of language, in which truth and falsehood are decided.

But what do we mean? Someone may ask: how can scientific language be based on the monosemia of words? How can Science advance from words that have the same meaning? Isn’t science exactly the one that advances continually? Yes, it is obvious that science advances, who could deny it? But where does science advance to? Science can only advance towards the same, not allowing anything new to happen outside its own framework, which, of course, is always the same: language repression favoring the world’s design. Therefore, if Science can advance towards the same, what advances in Science is the world’s design from language repression. Thus, Science is the one that, advancing, increasingly imposes limits to the world, transforming it into one single thing.

Then, what do Ethics and Aesthetics do in the world? And yet, how can they be considered similar, one? As always, the zealous mother seem to understand very well this identification when telling her son: “Boy, get your finger out of your nose, that’s ugly!”. How can we understand this? Since, in spite of the philosopher, we cannot remain silent.

Usually, we call Ethics the kind of philosophical discourse that falls directly on matters of life, from the more homely to those considered superior, from the most simple to the most complex. Hence, since Aristotle, Ethics must be thought on alongside Politics: what is the life I can carry out along with others? If there are options, which will be the best to follow? Is there freedom to decide on this, or rather, freedom is the only thing there is to decide on this? Is there indeed a way of life better than others and, therefore, everyone should follow it, without distinction? Is it true, as the philosopher argues, that “[...] the world of a happy man is different from that of an unhappy man” (Wittgenstein, 1987, p. 139)? It certainly should be. But who establishes what happiness is to be able to delimit the difference? Is it an evil, the fact that we cannot achieve it? But, if it is an evil, is it something we can remedy in our lives, or is it some kind of miasm, as well as an original sin, or just a kind of malaise of our civilization, for which there may be a treatment? But if it is an evil of our own, what is our good?

As we can see, when we decide to talk about Ethics, several words began to acquire substantiality in the discourse: politics, freedom, ways of living, duty, happiness, sin, guilt, neurosis, care, remission, evil, and good. Of course, such words are not the only ones Ethics shelters, but only those that this discourse of ours sheltered. If such words acquire substance (hypokeímenon) in the Ethical discourse, what is it that they support?

As we have seen, each word supports that which fits the limits of the entity to which it corresponds. But what kind of entity delimits the word freedom or duty, happiness, good, and evil? I believe that even taking a quick look, it is possible to see that such words seem to designate things somewhat different from those that the words of the empirical-formal Sciences designate. What is the difference? It is simple, the things the word Ethics designates have no empiric form. The words from ethical discourses do not correspond to sensitive phenomena perceived by intuition. Therefore, such phenomena, though nameable, cannot be properly valued by calculations. With what, in fact, they escape the strict delineation that the word logic requires to enter the propositional game that reveals the truth and falsehood of what was named. To put it another way, they are words and, therefore, it is clear that they have meaning. After all, they are in the lexicon of our language; we can all distinguish them from mere noises. However, they do not possess any referent. The sound pronounced significantly does not correspond to any identifiable empirical object. They are like containers emptied of any content. They are beings without an identity and, therefore, necessarily contradictory. That way, if the word Ethics is empty, what does it mean, in this context, to say that it does not have an ascertainable referential content? What happens to it, then?

Well, the empty container is a being filled with potential. At first, there is room in it for us to fill it in the most varied ways. Maybe, doing so, we can even surpass the limits of transhipment (metáphora). Not being determined to correspond to any referential identity, the word, when Ethic, can accommodate a plurality of possible meanings. Therefore, the word Ethics never says just the same, but, in the face of its own indeterminacy, shall constitute itself, enduring differences. The Ethical discourse is always polysemic.

Well, and what about the Aesthetical discourse? What is it that it supports that can make it identifiable regarding the Ethical discourse? As we know, the word aesthetics, as we employ it to describe an aspect of philosophical reflection, even though sharing the same Greek origin with ethics, is not as old as the other, being introduced in Modernity. Alexander Baumgarten was the responsible for introducing it, fundamentally, from his thesis, Aesthetica, published in two volumes (1750, 1758). In general, distinguishing the sensitive representation of objects from the conceptual representation, the thesis attempts to legitimize the possibility of a knowledge specific to the sensitive perception, and not intellectual, whose paradigm would be the notion of beauty that art is able to expose (Baumgarten, 1993). Hegel, on his turn, although adopting the name, does not really care for it. What we may understand by the etymologically load of the word, making it appear that the whole Aesthetics question rests mainly on sensitive perception. After all, the word aesthetics is derived from the Greek adjective aisthetikós, which, in its nominative neutral plural form, tà aisthetiká, could mean that which is perceived by the senses. As a noun, aísthesis is often translated to feeling, sensitivity. This can lead Aesthetics to fall into a kind of nature investigation, which is refused by Hegel4. Thus, to the philosopher, the best name for what he himself calls Aesthetics would be “[...] art philosophy and, more precisely, fine art philosophy” (Hegel, 2001, p. 27).

Here, before we go any further with Aesthetics, we can notice that we have already achieved a point, if not of identification, at least of rapprochement, between Ethics and Aesthetics, because, when the philosopher excludes a speech on nature from the Aesthetic discourse, he directs it exclusively to an aspect of human production, i.e., art. Therefore, we may think they are like speeches on humanity production, that, primarily, Ethics and Aesthetics present themselves to us as identifiable.

But let’s get back to our question regarding the Aesthetic discourse, which, as it may seem, can already be answered, even if partially: what does the Aesthetic discourse support? The Aesthetic discourse largely supports art, and, more specifically, what Hegel calls fine art.

Adjectivizing the scope of what art should support as an Aesthetic, Hegel save us from ancient confusions. Let us not forget that the Greek word tékhne - which appears, in texts by both Plato and Aristotle, generally in the vicinity of the word epistéme, when not, and very often, joined by the conjunctions kaí, transfroming them, in a logical point of view, in inseparable terms from a same concept - enters most modern languages through the tradition of the Latin translation ars, artis. Thus, such languages, including Hegel’s German, traditionally translated tékhne by art (kunst). With that, we can talk about the art of the mechanic, of the baker, and of the electrician. We even founded the Schools of Arts and Crafts, where, basically, the necessary techniques for the instrumental handling of others were made available considering the demands of formation and maintenance of an existence founded in the mode of production of the other, which Modernity began.

No, this is not the kind of art (tékhne) that we must question if we want to know what the Aesthetic discourse supports, so we can raise the question of its identity concerning the Ethical discourse. If we can still ask for the help of the philosopher, he already gave us the answer when he says that the Aesthetic discourse is the one that speaks “[...] only of the beautiful in art” (Hegel, 2001, p. 27), so obviously, it supports the Fine Art. Thus, by contrast, we can distrust for now that the beauty of art of which Hegel speaks is something related to the production of the thing that is the most specific to us.

But then, once and for all, as it seems we have been wandering for too long, what is this Fine Art supported by the Aesthetic discourse? In truth, they are fine. The philosopher keeps talking, saying which are they: Architecture, Sculpture, Music, Painting, and Poetry. With the term poetry, Hegel also reaches dramatic poetry, thus encompassing Theater. Now that we already know what is the art (arts, in fact) that the Aesthetic speech stands for, beyond Hegel, in his sequence, we could add to the list: Photography, Cinema, Happening etc. Today, the term Visual Arts is able to cover a good part of the different artistic productions.

Yes, we know, these are the kinds of artistic production that the Aesthetic discourse stands for. But, what do they have that we can consider them beautiful? In fact, if we follow philosophers, since Plato, did we not learn to be suspicious of artistic production (poiésis)? Does not Hegel himself, as may happen in these cases, in spite of all the praise, tell us that “art is for us a thing of the past” (Hegel, 1952, p. 48)? Moreover, let us not forget the beginning of our text: Didn’t Wittgenstein advise us to be silent regarding Aesthetics? In one way or another, the philosopher gives us a chance to understand that artistic beauty is not settled in purely physical possible predicates, when excluding natural beauty from the Aesthetic discourse. The beauty supported by art would not be solely determined by the physiological qualities of their products. So, as we suspected, it can only be related to the thing that is the most specific to us.

The thing that is the most specific to us is not just saying what is and what is not, but also, and perhaps the most odd, saying that which is not as something that is. Each in his own way, Zêuxis, the famous painter of ancient Greece, also did it so well that he was able to trick the birds that came to peck the grapes he painted, being himself fooled by the curtains painted by Parrásio. Our photographer Sebastião Salgado does the same with some of his portraits, when he shows us the beauty of misery. Thinking like that, it was not for nothing that Plato banished poets from his ideal city! What the poet says is not exactly what is or what is not, and it does not matter. But a mixture of being and not-being, something indeterminate.

What is it that makes indeterminate the poet who, for us, made the Aesthetic discourse indeterminate in general? We shall try to approach the question from something very well determined, even capable of determining our lives: the word clock.

It is obvious that we all know it, as the sound that announces it makes sense. But that is not all, we also know to what kind of objects it refers to. Not being hard at all for us, and even trivial, given the multiplicity of objects that comes to hand in daily life, no matter how different they are, we know how to distinguish those that the word clock supports from those it does not. After all, we know to use the clock and, in its everyday use, we know precisely what it is, corresponding to the precision of the clock precisely. But what happens when we encounter a clock that is not exactly put in the world to be used amidst the regulation of the duties of our daily life? Would this object still be a clock, virtually not having any use? Then, what would the word clock be supporting when, for example, even in the face of something like the Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí, we are able to use, not painting, but the word clock? Of course, we do correspond Dalí’s clocks in the same way as those we carry on our wrists. Even if we can pinpoint precisely the time on one of the painter’s watches, most probably, nobody, being before the pointers, will come out of the room running for judging to be late for work, for example.

This is an aspect of its indetermination: the clock, when by Dalí, is in fact a clock, there is no way to say otherwise, or we would never utter such a sound before the artwork. However, not corresponding precisely only to those objects that are placed in the world to be used as the sound that names them, the word Aesthetics is also able to correspond to that which it is not.

Then, what happens? Does Aesthetics always begin in a contradiction? Is that why we must remain silent about it? Thus, coming from a contradiction, it is clear that the word itself, unsaying what it said, is not able to say anything?

Obviously, since Plato’s Sophist, things no longer have to be that way. The word Aesthetics, saying what it is and what it is not, does not speak of what is self-annulled, but, on the contrary, of what can be expanded from otherness. Not saying only what the clock says, the word, when Aesthetics, ends up being able to say much more. The more the word Aesthetics supports is exactly that which it is not: the other. Thus, Dalí’s clock, not being limited to always saying the same, that which the clock is, defining it as such, ends up supporting the chance of saying something different. After all, before the things we have to deal with in life, constantly state that a clock is a clock - let us not forget that every definition is tautological - even seems like a joke, and in very bad taste.

But if the word Aesthetics cannot support, not conforming to, the mere identity assertion of the objects placed in the world, what does it support, then?

Yes, we already mentioned it, the other, the different. Condition of possibility to talk about the same, of the identical. More than the polysemic formation of language, all of it, it is the condition of possibility of the monosemic definition. Therefore, unlike Science language, which must start from the monosemic word and, to that end, must first suppress its semantic possibilities to the narrow limits of definition, the word Aesthetic supports, embracing, what, for the epistemological formation of the world, is a problem to be repressed. Thus, embracing the polysemy of the words it supports, the Aesthetic discourse is always polysemic.

There you go! If we were looking for what could identify Ethics and Aesthetics, it is obvious that we have found it: the Ethical discourse, identical to the Aesthetic discourse, is always polysemic. Which is no small thing. Because what identifies them is that which forms them, the language they share - and it could not be different for the possibility of identification to exist effectively.

Thus, if somehow we were able to answer the first question of our title when we realized that what makes Ethics and Aesthetics one is the polysemy of the language that forms them, now, let us try to answer the second: what could this have to do with Education?

However, to do so, to try and understand what Ethics and Aesthetics, being one, may have to do with education, we first need to know what is the relationship they keep with their antipode, science. After all, any knowledge is produced by contrasts. Let’s see, then.

Well, when we talk about Education, as it is clear, first of all, we talk. Therefore, Education, as everything properly our own, is a phenomenon of language, without which not even nothingness would come to the world. However, it is not a simple phenomenon either, but rather, a very special one. For, generally speaking, what we understand as Education is the privileged place where the production of insertion and permanence in the language happens - the possibility of entering a world. The inserted always is in a world previously produced by its own language. When it arrives, the world is already there, conformed to convenient words, and to be inserted in the world going forward, it will always involve the question of conforming, one way or another, to this fact. Conformation ways correspond to ways of staying in the world. Staying at the world is necessarily being part of its reproduction, as much as of the possibilities of its production. Therefore, ultimately, establishing the correspondence between language and world, Education is especially the place of production and reproduction of the human existence per se (mundane). This is its privilege. As well as its power.

There is why, considering the power it possesses, that we generally expect a lot from Education. Since Modernity, in the midst of its institutionalization, we hope it will be able to enlighten humanity, providing “[...] the exit of men from their minority”(Kant, 2008, p. 63). The obscure in humans is the possibility of refusing adult life and preferring to live in a children’s world, full of fantasies, out of touch with reality. Bringing the human to the real becomes, therefore, the project of an illuminated world, product of Education. Hence the need, as part of that project, to draw the limits of the reality accessible to the human, so that we can distinguish what actually is, from what is not, which, clearly, already assumes a choice, the propositional use of language. Although such a choice often arises with the epithet of need, more precisely of logical need, for being a necessity from logic, it is worth mentioning here that it is not exactly a need from choice.

But what is the need of logic so we can use propositional language, in order to, definitely free of any illusion, keep ourselves on the limits of reality? Well, we already know, logic requires, first of all, the suppression of language, until each word that forms its propositional use can only say one thing. Logic is only able to achieve that when directing its castrating voice to empiric objects. Those that can thus be calculated. Ultimately, logic requires the monosemy of words, without which Science could never come to enlighten us, distinguishing what is from what is not, placing us in the midst of reality.

Therefore, feeling that Science is only able to place us in the midst of reality precisely because we assume that it is a “higher form of knowledge” (Pinto, 1969, p. 63), that for us, the task of Education begins to coincide with the task of Science. Since education must prepare Citizens for the world as it is. Thus, if there is a common feature to all Pedagogy, whether it can be labeled liberal or liberating, traditional or new, is that there is not any that does not desire the name “scientific.” After all, we live in a world governed by technique and science, and Education cannot get away from reality, on the contrary. Isn’t that how we learn? Isn’t that how we teach?

However, which reality is this, governed by technique and science from which we cannot get away? This reality can only be one: the same one produced by the convenient language. A language that not only determines what is real, but that, in doing so, can only recognize it as one, which could not be otherwise, since the language of Science is only able to recognize what reduces the narrow limits of the monosemic identity.

However, on second thought, it is certainly likely that someone shall appear here saying it could only be valid, perhaps, for example, until the fall of the Berlin Wall, but today things are no longer so. After all, the time of the Enlightenment is long gone, modern times are behind us, we live in the Postmodernism. Then, it is up to us to ask what is worth on Postmodernism that can invalidate everything that has been said so far?

At first glance, it is easy to see that at least the name modernity still applies in the name postmodernity. Clearly, it is not because we placed a word before it (post) that it loses its value. It is the other way around. It is from the validity of its value to something like a post can be named. So, if we still must listen to what language says, it is among what is Modern that we can ask questions about its end, what comes next. And it is precisely this that is often done with the name Postmodern in contemporary times: a critique of Modernity regarding the perception of its consumption. Hence the eagerness for a post. The problem is when we start to confuse the expression of a desire with reality, because by talking so much about the fragmentation of Modern Reason, it seems like our life is fragmented, that we are not part of a mosaic, when what happens seems to be just the opposite of this. In contemporary times, increasingly, there are almost no ways of living outside the mosaic. The mosaic does not show the image we constructed of the world, it rather shows the way we produce it.

We produce the world in accordance with the words that are convenient to it. We already know that, I confess, it is already sounding somewhat repetitive. However, if for the one who produces the world according to the words that are convenient to them, the following biblical words may warn us: man does not live by bread alone (Cf. Bible, Mt. 4:4, p. 2323). It also seems correct to claim that he shall also not live by words alone. Humanity also produces the conditions of possibility of its material existence. But, indeed, it produces them according to the words it possesses for this end.

It is enough to reflect a little and soon we shall realize that the mode of production of the contemporary material existence, fundamentally, is none other than that which began with Modernity. A mode of production that opens itself from the possibilities of advances in the scientific and technical industries. Such possibilities, whose modes of action include reduction of the simple nature of calculation objects, enable, increasingly, the industry to reduce nature to simple goods, objects of consumption, which shall be calculation objects as well. If we do not get over the mode of production of material existence of Modernity, for not getting over the language that produces it, there is no way to say that we have lived beyond it, that it has stayed behind, even if very recently. Even if it often may seem like we experience its end.

The end of a world is not its annihilation. It is rather a time of rejoicing for the fullness of the statement. Experience, therefore, of the satisfaction of its desires. Thus, it is always at the peak of its completeness that a world can reach its end. Exactly when it seems perfect and thus finished (perfectus).

But what did Modernity hoped to achieve, so that we can consider it satisfied? Let’s be fair: it hoped we could experience humanity from the freedom that characterizes us. And, to this end, it counted on what we call Science: the monosemic use of language. What Modernity call freedom is something that is only possible from the repression of language, which, in its turn, can only be effective in the world produced by such language. Therefore, a concept of freedom that starts monosemic, excluding the possible meanings of the other, can only be conceived as the participation of all in the same. In the same world in which this notion of freedom was produced.

As it turns out, to the extent that the very effectiveness of the Modern world presupposes the elimination of the other, such a world can only become effective by advancing. Its final advancement is what we call globalization. If the other side of the Berlin Wall had won the war, we would probably call it internationalization. Which, of course, would not change a thing. It would be the same language producing the same world. This world we live in, never before so homogenized. Where, hegemonically, one (and only one) production mode of human existence is considered legitimate. After all, is this and only this, what we are calling a possible end of Modernity. The fact that it is ending the process of finishing its potential, having already reduced the world to one. Given that, it seems justified to ask: what more to expect from it? That it let us placidly enjoy, amid the mass, the freedom convenient to us? But what is freedom convenient to the masses in the contemporary world?

Usually, when we enter the sphere of freedom in the Modern world, we ended up in the field of Law. One of the basic rights of our world is the right to Education. On the other hand, it is the State’s duty. Being the State the one it should favor the effectuation of the world, it is necessary that all go to School so that, inserted in our language, we remain freely amid the world’s reproduction and production. In this way, School can only value, by teaching, the language specific to favor the world to which it corresponds. Including the masses in the favoring of free production of the world.

But, then, let us continue with our questions: that which favors the free production of the contemporary world simultaneously favors the large mass of included individuals? Why is it that everyone, without escape, should be reduced to one? Why does diversity can only be accepted in the form of inclusion? This is a strange idea, our freedom, developed pari passo with the possibilities of repression, resulting in the formula: the more repression, the more freedom.

Even because of this, for the things that are evidenced at the end of Modernity, we are able of developing such questions, also questioning the principles of these questions. Because today we are enlightened and informed enough to realize that “[...] that same enterprise that has once given men the ideas and the strength to break free from the fears and prejudices of a tyrannical religion, now makes him a slave of its interests” (Feyerabend, 2011, p. 94). Thus, it is more than time to effectively question Science as the only thought destined to the production of a free world. A freedom that, as we can see, puts us in an unfounded circle, as it is “[...] granted only to those who have already accepted part of the Rationalist ideology (i.e. scientific)” (Feyerabend, 2011, p. 95). Therefore, Education can only be thought of, with the sweet humanism it has, as a form of inclusion. Not geared to the human we are and could be, but rather, to the humanity that is convenient to us, predetermined by the conveniences that, even if encompassing everyone, do not belong to all.

Therefore, today, we may think that one of our main tasks is not only “[...] to recognize that people are human, individuals, that their children arrive at school as humans, but deconstruct that they shall be fully human, throughout the education process, humanization, unique, universal, of which We is the synthesis” (Arroyo, 2014, p. 57). We have, thus, arrived at a time when schools, if they still may have some involvement in the production of the free world, can only do so by breaking with Education. In our world, where “[...] the State and Science work closely together” (Feyerabend, 2011, p. 92), Education, always committed to what the State must favor, can only be, solely and exclusively, scientific. Promoting only the freedom that is convenient to the State, and not the freedom that befits a free world. After all, we can already clearly understand that other freedoms are not only effectively possible, but, above all, legitimate. As Feyerabend (2011, p. 14) argues:

A free society is the one in which all traditions have equal rights and equal access to the centers of power (this differs from the usual definition in which individuals have equal rights of access to positions defined by a special tradition - a tradition of Science and Western Rationalism).

But how can such traditions, that are not our own, receive such rights? Don’t they want now to usurp our values? Let us allow Feyerabend to continue answering: “A tradition receives these rights not due to the importance (cash value, in fact) that it has for people external to it, but because it gives meaning to the lives of those who are part of it” (Feyerabend, 2011, p. 14).

Well, there it is, as we suspected from the beginning (eks arkhés). When it comes to the question of production of the possible humanity, the principle at stake is always the question of meaning. With what we fall back to, or rather, never move away from language. It is here, then, that it has to be thought on. Let’s go back to the beginning.

Remember Wittgenstein? Yes, the very same one that offered the motto for what we tried to think until this point, that sowed himself to be worried about the fact that we could only “[...] say what can be said, i.e., the propositions of natural science” (Wittgenstein, p. 141). He is the one who tells us “[...] even when all the possible science questions were resolved, the problems of life would remain unsolved” (Wittgenstein, p. 141).

If the philosopher can talk about this, it is because we can come to think that Science, although useful, is not able to meet actual human needs, not effectively responding to life issues. Well, why is that? Because it is not committed to the production of meaning, preoccupied, first, in repressing it.

This is what the philosopher calls Ethics and Aesthetics, which are polysemically established in the sheltering of otherness that, at the very least, favors the understanding of the possibility of sheltering the different. That is why all production of what is rightfully human (Ethics) can only be polysemic. This is the only way to produce something out of what beauty can exist in us, the different (Aesthetic).

Schools, as long as they are unable to accept the polysemy of language and know how to handle the productivity lead by it, will certainly remain incapable of dealing with the plurality of human potential, inherent to the production of meaning, and will only be able to continue doing what they already do, repress the possibilities of production of meaning, favoring the production of Work. As Nadja Hermann (2005, p. 105) says:

Education, which always had an inevitable attraction to the unit, due to its metaphysical bases, can benefit from the recognition of the plurality of new configurations that the aesthetic sense promotes, without giving up the ethical principles that govern the social life, and neither understand in a narrow way the search for moral improvement. The formation of an ethical individual, a historical demand of classic and modern educational thought, finds, in the open aesthetic experience, moments of the free play of imagination that amplify the I and lead it to improvement.

But, to this end, schools, committed to Education, always committed to what the State must encourage, can make a decision. To which world must correspond what we, teachers, say in class? To the one that, in the end, no longer corresponds to that which favors us, or the one that needs us to start, and that may actually correspond to the plurality of our potential?

If language is able to establish a world, it is not a bad start if we start speaking. However, let us not forget the counterpart of all speaking: it is not a bad start if we start listening. Above all the other.

Translated from portuguese by Tikinet Edição Ltda.


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3“The proposition can only be true or false because it is an image of reality” (Wittgenstein, 1987, p. 59).

4“Through this expression [art philosophy], we can immediately rule out natural beauty” (Hegel, 2001, p. 28).

Received: November 27, 2015; Accepted: June 08, 2017

Fausto dos Santos Amaral Filho has a PhD in Philosophy from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Professor of PPGED at Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná (UTP). He is the author of A Estética Máxima (2003) and Os Filósofos e a Educação (2014). E-mail:

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