By Yusef Waghid, Nuraan Davids
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Extra resources for Citizenship, Education and Violence: On Disrupted Potentialities and Becoming
Our interest in potentiality is spawned by Agamben’s explication of creation in relation to the thoughts of the disciples of Aristotle in Islam, referred to as the falasifa, namely, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Avveroes (Ibn Rushd), and Al-Ghazzali. Avicenna conceived of the creation of the world as an act in which divine intelligence thinks itself and, in this way, lets the multiplicity of creatures be (Agamben, 1999a: 146). For Agamben, Avicenna uses the image of writing to illustrate the various kinds of levels of the potential intellect, following Aristotle’s writing tablet on which nothing is written.
They are ‘being-such, which remains constantly hidden in the condition of belonging’ (Agamben, 1993: 2). What is wrong with intersubjectivity? For Taylor, intersubjective meanings are ‘in the practices themselves, practices which cannot be conceived as a set of individual actions, but which are essentially modes of social action, of mutual action’ (1985: 36). Our concern is with the view that individual actions being conceived as not being ‘common’ and ‘constitutive of the social matrix in which individuals find themselves and act’ (Taylor, 1985: 36).
Thirdly, educating students to suspend a rush to judgement involves instilling in them an ethics of critique. Butler (2009: 782) defines critique as a practice that suspends judgement and involves two aspects: probing, such as excluding possibilities of thinking otherwise; and opening up possibilities of new practices. To probe and think of things anew is putting what is self-evident into question and to ask new kinds of questions. That is, critique suspends judgement about what is impossible to consider (Butler, 2009: 783).