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Learning to unlearn: Machado de Assis and the pedagogy of choice

This study results from research on the tragic imaginary of the works of Machado de Assis and its relation with the dimensions of choice in education, considered from a philosophical perspective. The question asked relates to the educational deployment of Machado's thought, which presupposes unlearning in order to reach the choice of approval of existence - a route taken by his characters since the stage of his work consensually regarded as mature, inaugurated by the publication of Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas (Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas). My aim is to understand the tragic imaginary expressed by the notions of nothing, chance and convention, as well as by the conditions for choosing to approve. The methodological path appropriated phenomenology and hermeneutics in the analysis of Machado's work and, as a result, pointed to an education whose philosophical foundations are the possible choice between the unconditional approval of existence and conditioned approval. In the case of the Machadian option, approval is manifested by the relativization of the references of meaning, by the questioning of belief, by adhesion to circumstances, by recognition of the spectacle, the strength of opinions and social conventions, and by affirming the ephemeral character of life, of human contradictions and of the conjunction of adverse reality and will to live.

Tragic philosophy; Pedagogy of choice; Machado de Assis

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