Inventing the Educational Subject in the ‘Information Age’


This paper asks the question of how we can situate the educational subject in what Luciano Floridi has defined as an ‘informational ontology’ (Floridi in The philosophy of information. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011a). It will suggest that Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler offer paths toward rethinking the educational subject that lend themselves to an informational future, as well as speculating on how, with this knowledge, we can educate to best equip ourselves and others for our increasingly digital world. Jacques Derrida thought the concept of the subject was ‘indispensable’ (Derrida in The structuralist controversy: the languages of criticism and the sciences of man. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1970, 272) as a function but did not subscribe to or accept any particular theory of how a subject could be defined or developed because it was always situated in and as a context. Following Derrida, Bernard Stiegler explains in Technics and Time: 1 that ‘the relation binding the “who” and the “what” is invention’ (Stiegler in Technics and time 1: the fault of epimetheus. Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1998, 134). As such, the separation between self and world can be seen as artificial, including if this world is perceived wholly or partly as technological, digital or informational. If this is the case, a responsibility is placed on the educator and their part in ‘inventing’ this distinction (or its absence) for future generations. How this invention of the educational subject is negotiated is therefore one the many philosophical tasks for digital pedagogy.

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Correspondence to Emile Bojesen.

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Bojesen, E. Inventing the Educational Subject in the ‘Information Age’. Stud Philos Educ 35, 267–278 (2016).

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  • Derrida
  • Stiegler
  • Floridi
  • Invention
  • Education
  • Subject