The double-dialectic and lifelong learning
This paper was provoked by Ted Bailey's article, 'Analogy, dialectics and lifelong learning' which appeared in the March-April 2003 edition of this journal. Dr. Bailey argued that students can be enabled to learn the key concepts of the subjects they are studying through the dialectical operation of analogy which makes new knowledge accessible by comparing it to familiar experience. It is the aim of this paper to show that dialectics extend far beyond this particular application, and that indeed they may be said to underpin the very concept of lifelong learning itself. The paper begins by examining the concepts of the dialectic and the double-dialectic, relating these to the writings of Giambattista Vico. The dialectical interplay of Nature and History is seen to be the foundation of human knowledge. This unitary view is then contrasted with specialism in the categorization of knowledge. The implications for lifelong education are considered, and illustrated through an example of a curriculum project.