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Education, Utopia, Necessity, and Existential Poverty by Alex Dunedin

This paper explores a perspective emerging from a community education project called Ragged University. The philosophical underpinnings of the project came as a response to necessity brought about by the existential poverty being created as a result of the process of enclosing the commons of the intellect. Read more

The Porous University, Socialisation and Reflections by Alex Dunedin

How are we to conceptualize the notion of the porous university ? The anchor point is understanding what we mean by university, for if we know what a university is we are then in a position to imagine how it might be porous, or what porous might mean in reference to such a thing.

My interpretations are salted with the things which have become meaningful to me, being someone who has never formally gone to university but however spent a great deal of time inside them, amongst the students, academics and general staff, as well as occupying the same terrain as these institutions in geographic and intellectual terms. Read more

Live Better, Help Often & Wonder More: Presentation for Sunday Assembly by Alex Dunedin

It is a pleasure to speak at Sunday Assembly, and I will be sharing how helping others led me to understanding all I needed to find the community I always wanted.  Starting the Ragged University project of knowledge sharing has been the greatest learning journey that Ive ever undertaken, and through doing it I quickly came to identify the basic ingredients that I needed for a happy, balanced life. Read more

Ragged University as a model of education: Power differentials and problems of scale

This presentation was given to the Knowledge, Power and Identity research group at the University of Manchester Institute of Education, on the 29th February 2016.  The research group explores understandings that educational theories, practices and policies work to constitute categories of identity and subjectivity that reflect knowledge and power relations.  Read more

The Common Instruments of Knowledge

Francis Bacon insisted we must question everything and arrive at our knowledge through our grappling with first principles built on experience and engagement of the ‘thing itself’ – a commons which we all draw upon.

Observation and direct involvement with the thing in itself is our only universal anchor point on knowledge; a discussion of Russell’s paradox would be useful here. In his work – Novum Organon – the New Instrument, that he lays out his thinking of how we arrive at knowledge; gnosis; siens (words I use to broaden the sense of what we are working with).

It is in the opening to this book that he sparks a tinder to at once acknowledge the ancient thinkers and to build from them: Read more

Common Sense: A Theory of Inherent Knowledge

‘What can I come to know ?’. As a starting point I have chosen ‘to look to the teacher of the thinker you admire’ as a place to evolve new perspectives and utilise convenient frameworks to create scaffoldings in my attempt to formulate this thesis of common sense. Admiring the stories written about Socrates, I thought it would be interesting to take the peers and teachers of Socrates as pivot points to generate thinking.

This is an exploration of common sense so my starting point is knowledge. I contend that we can come to know things; that we regularly use common instruments – tools available to us all – to access knowledge, and that gaining knowledge is a communitive process. Implicit in this is a sense of community, other, communication, also of language. Through observation and communication, it is possible to arrive at common sense of things. Read more

Science and Knowledge

There are other methods of discovering and learning knowledge about nature, but science is the only method that results in the acquisition of reliable knowledge.

Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method. Reliable knowledge is sometimes called justified true belief, to distinguish reliable knowledge from belief that is false and unjustified or even true but unjustified. Read more

Inclusive Education and the Dialogue of Learning

I have been thinking about the nature of education and having been familiar with the noble aspects of this tenet of human society, I have not thought much about the negatives which it can manifest as. Francis Bacon is often attributed with having said ‘Knowledge is Power’. Regardless of who first said this, what is obvious is that it has become common currency as a phrase.

There are various ways in which this can be interpreted but one I like, which is not so commonly encountered is ‘Knowledge is only power when it is shared’. It was Francis Benton who told me this when she kindly consulted on the Ragged project at its inception.

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