Call for papers

Call for papers for a special issue of Journal of Philosophy in Schools


Future Education: Schools and Universities


The University is, increasingly, a ghostly institution. It is haunted not only by questions concerning the nature of teaching, but also by a sense of its relationship to itself and to its own past […] Directives come from the phantom of “the centre” […] The University is in ruins. — Nicholas Royle, The Uncanny.


While some may argue that universities are in a state of crisis, others claim that we are living in a post-university era; a time after universities. If there was a battle for the survival of the institution it is over and done with. The buildings still stand. Students enrol and may (at times) attend lectures though let’s be clear, most do not. But virtually nothing real remains. What some mistakenly take to be a university is, in actuality, an “uncanny” spectral presence; “the nagging presence of an absence […] a ‘spectralized amnesiac modernity with its delusional totalizing systems’” (Maddern and Adey 292).  It is the remains and remnants of the university.


Simultaneously there is a complaint that students in primary and high schools are less engaged with learning in a classroom setting. Operating in a time of mass art, media and technology monopolises and mediates citizens’ access to information and images, with educational institutions and teachers playing catch-up even while governmental policies seek to test and measure everything in sight. Students are distracted and access more ‘knowledge’ (or infotainment) as independent learners that ever previously. This raises fundamental questions as to the role of the teacher and the classroom and how might philosophy of education serve to best inform pedagogical practices that help prepare students for life and future employment opportunities. Such questions are set against a time of rapid technological advancement in which the jobs of the future, the communication devices and technical wizardry including AI is such that we cannot possibly imagine today.


The ongoing neoliberalisation of public services has witnessed significant operational and structural transformations in education. The focus on outcomes and outputs sees researchers having to justify any research they do in terms of economic and political gains prior to being granted any funding, while teachers themselves are assessing, measuring and testing students incessantly from primary school age. The reductionist neoliberal agenda conveniently forgets the social, moral and personal implications of their own approach and fails to account for many of the benefits and virtues of the researchers, their work, the teachers as well as the students who operate as members of a community.


Neoliberals (and neoconservatives) believe in what Carmen Lawrence has called the just world hypothesis. “You get what you deserve and you deserve what you get.” Yet in a post-truth age, justice is not always forthcoming. Is it any surprise that the kind and extent of changes for the worse that have been wrought in higher education, as elsewhere, are often motivated by basic needs and affects (e.g., greed and power; jealousies; fear of missing out (FOMO) or of being taken advantage of; or a sense of entitlement)? Rarely acknowledged, these real underlying psychological reasons (causes) are then rationalised and transformed into public policy justifications (e.g. it is unaffordable; the sector fears change etc.).


This special issue of Journal of Philosophy in Schools seeks to address normative ethical and practical questions regarding the future of educational spaces including schools (primary and secondary) and the University. Essays should be empirically informed but largely conceptual and argumentative. The guest editors seek essays from philosophers of education; social, political and cultural theorists; higher education administrators; leaders of granting and research bodies, students, and others. There is no constraint on the topics or kinds of issues to be discussed other than that they focus on the nature and role of the Educational Future: the Future School or University – what they will be (or already are) like, and what educationally, ethically, and practically speaking they should be like.


CFPs Abstracts by Friday April 21st 2017


Authors notified by June 1st 2017


Papers due by January 31st 2018


Double blind peer review conducted and responses given to authors. Revisions, where necessary, completed. All final versions of papers submitted by August 1st 2018.


Issue for publication November 2018. Open access, online.


Topics and themes:


  • Are universities any longer necessary? Is the University a thing of the past and if so, what has or should have taken its place?


  • What are some of the social, political and personal implications of the radical changes schools (primary or secondary) or universities have already undergone and of what they are becoming?


  • Is there a distinctive set of what may be termed the academic virtues or virtues of teachers? If so, what are they? Is it possible to practice those virtues, to be a person of good character, in the context of the day to day life of the contemporary university or school environment? In short, is teaching at a university or school compatible with integrity?


  • What, if anything, is it about the nature or structure of the new managerialism in universities and schools, and perhaps neoliberalism and neo-conservatism in society at large, that may be inimical to the value and function of education?


  • What might the university or the school of the future look like? How will it function? What will be its role? Have any of the “traditional” values and purposes of education survived the transformations already undertaken let alone those to come?


  • Why teach at the Future School or University? Will teaching at the Future School or University be desirable? Can it be (remain) a vocation or is it better seen as a job?


  • What if anything is the relation between the fact that teachers no longer have the say (power) they once did in administration have to do with the shaping of the Future School or University?


  • Relatedly; supposing that, in particular, university teachers are no longer highly regarded either within society, or (arguably) by university administrators at the highest level, what are the implications of this for the Future University in terms of teaching, learning and the so-called university experience? Similarly the pressure on teachers to ensure students get good grades has increasingly seen governments, schools and parents place the responsibility and the blame on teachers rather than on the students and their home environments. What is the implication of this on the Schools of the Future?


  • Must the meaning of “education” and what it means to be educated be revised and contextualized given what schools and universities have become – or are becoming?


  • Describe the University of the Future or describe the School of the Future. What does it see itself as becoming and how does that differ, if at all, from what it should become?


Special Issue Editors


Winthrop Professor Michael P. Levine, Philosophy, The University of Western Australia and Dr Laura D’Olimpio, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy, The University of Notre Dame Australia. Email all queries and abstracts to:


Michael P. Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, the University of Virginia, and in Moscow as a Fulbright Fellow. Publications include Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity; Prospects for an Ethics of Architecture (co-authored with Bill Taylor); Thinking Through Film (with Damian Cox); Politics Most Unusual (with Damian Cox and Saul Newman); Integrity and the Fragile Self (with Damian Cox and Marguerite La Caze); and Engineering and War: Ethics, Institutions, Alternatives (with Ethan Blue and Dean Nieusma). Editor, The Analytic Freud; The ‘Katrina Effect’: Reflections on a Disaster and Our Future (with William Taylor et al); Ethics and Leadership (with Jacqueline Boaks). In 2014 he was a Senior Fellow at Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study.


Dr Laura D’Olimpio is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at The University of Notre Dame Australia. Laura completed her PhD ‘The Moral Possibilities of Mass Art’ at The University of Western Australia. Laura has published in the areas of philosophical pedagogy, aesthetics and ethics and is a regular contributor to The Conversation and Radio National’s Philosopher’s Zone. Laura is Chairperson of the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA) and co-editor of Journal of Philosophy in Schools. Her first book, Media and Moral Education: A philosophy of critical engagement is forthcoming in the ‘Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education’ book series.