Prof. Dr. Phil. Michele Borrelli, M.A.

 

Michele Borrelli is full professor of General Pedagogy at the University of Calabria in Italy and has lectured Didactics of Social Sciences, Historical and Systematic Pedagogics and Intercultural Pedagogics at the universities of Wuppertal, Frankfurt, Giessen and Nuremberg.
Michele Borrelli he received the pedagogical formation and philosophy of the “Scuola di Gießen” (Giessen School). He studied anthropology, Roman law studies, political science and pedagogical science at Justus Liebig University, Giessen passing the Staatsexamen für das Lehramt an Haupt- und Realschulen (Justus Liebig-University, Giessen, Faculty: Didaktik der Sozialwissenschaften) in 1972.
After the Staatsexamen, he took an MA - Master of Arts, graduating with honours in 1974 followed by a PhD - Doctor of Philosophy, graduating magna cum laude in 1978 (both at Giessen University). His Master of Arts thesis was entitled: Lernzielermittlung,-legitimation und –operationalisierung im Bereich Politischer Didaktik zwischen Ideologie und Wissenschaft. It was published in Kurt Gerhard Fischer (by), Politische Pädagogik zwischen Pädagogik und Politik, Metzler, in 1976. His Doctor of Philosophy thesis was entitled: Politische Bildung in Italien – Revolution und Konterrevolution. It was published by Metzler, Stuttgart in 1979.

He has coordinated theoretical and practical teacher training courses at Giessen University, as well as after-school pedagogical/experimental courses in Hessen (Germany) for the “Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung” (Hessen), Germany. He also organised, coordinated and administered cultural courses for Italian workers in Germany on behalf of the Italian ACLI association for occupational training (Stuttgart, Germany) as well as after-school courses in Austria.
In 1988, following his term as lecturer in Intercultural Pedagogics at Nürnberg University, he returned to Calabria to take up the Chair of General Pedagogy at the University of Calabria (from 1992). He continued to work on projects of scientific study with academics in Germany (especially philosophers, science theorists and teachers). Drawing on his almost twenty years of study, teaching and research in Germany, he mapped a theoretical framework to be used as common scientific ground and the source of scientific exchange between intellectuals from various different scientific specialisations and perspectives. The underlying objective of his research was to trace the foundation of the social sciences, of pedagogical science in particular.
One of the main areas that Michele Borrelli has explored is the methodological approach to ontological and dialectic enquiry in modern society and ultimately, dialectic pedagogical ontology (Pedagogia come ontologia dialettica della società, [Pedagogics: a dialectic ontology of society], Pellegrini Editore (first edition: 1998, revised and updated edition: 1999, reprints: 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011). The aim of this book is to develop a reconstruction about dissolution of the historical-philosophical thought (from the philosophy of being or Ursprungsphilosophie alla Subjektphilosophie and Bewußtseinsphilosophie, from the Reflexionsphilosophie to the Sprachphilosophie and Postphilosophie) and of the historical-scientific thought (from the classical Positivism to Neo-Positivism of the Vienna’s School, from the Popper’s Critical Rationalism to Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School to Kuhn’s Post-empiricis). Besides, this study represents a critical lecture of the dissolution quoted above. This reconstruction underlines that the paradigm (anti-metaphysics) that come with every metaphysical dissolution never cancels the metaphysician but reconstitutes it by a different position. The philosophical-scientific passages that are reconstructed (from the Ursprungsphilosophie to Subjektphilosophie/Reflexionsphilosophie and to Sprachphilosophie) confirm that every philosophical turn (Wende) comes true inside the transcendental and never outside of it. Every (metaphysical) dissolution does not come out totally never from its genesis that is from the (transcendental) possibility of its own (transcendental) condition. To go beyond the metaphysician means also to go back in the metaphysician as only possibility of criticism of the metaphysical. It is possible to go beyond the criticism only inside the criticism borders. To come out of the dialectic always means to go back in the borders worn by the dialectic. The pedagogical reflection follows the philosophical-scientific process of the general dissolution of the every transcendental element. It is developed inside the dissolution process until the borders of the dialectics of the conceptual paradoxicality and of its self-laceration. The result of this theoretical process is merciless and paradoxical: pedagogy means philosophical reflection about thought self-paradoxicality. Consequentially, pedagogy means reflection about its own paradoxicality: it is a philosophical protest against itself and the thought; it also is an attempt to bring whit the concept beyond the concept (Adorno).
His research into the foundation of the social sciences, which commenced with the series entitled, Metodologia delle Scienze Sociali [Methodology of the Social Sciences], a work reflecting the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann and the pragmatic transcendentalism of Karl-Otto Apel and in association with other leading German-speaking exponents of contemporary philosophy, also touched on contemporary Italian philosophy, and again involved some of its leading figures.
One of his key mentors was Kurt Gerhard Fischer, professor of the theory of political education at Giessen University and extremely learned and erudite social sciences scholar as well as expert of political teaching.

He is the author of over 200 publications, largely in German and Italian language, but also in French, English, Dutch, Turkish and Greek.
His philosophical theories regarding the foundation of intercultural pedagogics have been published in Italian, German, English, French, Dutch, Turkish and Greek; furthermore, they have been the object of much in-depth discussion in foreign books and journals.
Its privileged area of research is the critical pedagogy. Among his works in this area: M. Borrelli, 2004, «L’utopizzazione della critica.
La pedagogia nel rapporto di tensione tra l’utopicità del concetto e la fattualità della contingenza», in M. Borrelli (a cura di/ed.), Pedagogia critica, Pellegrini, Cosenza 2004, pp. 211-232; anche in versione tedesca/also in german version: «Utopisierung von Kritik. Pädagogik im Spannungsverhältnis von utopischem Begriff und kontingenter Faktizität», in D. Benner, M. Borrelli, F. Heyting e C. Winch (hrsg./ed.), Kritik in der Pädagogik. Versuche über das Kritische in Erziehung und Erziehungswissenschaft, ‘Zeitschrift für Pädagogik’, n.46, Weinheim: Beltz 2003, pp. 142-154; e in versione inglese/ also available in english: «The Utopianisation of Critique: the Tension between Education Conceived as a Utopian Concept and as one Grounded in Empirical Reality», in F. Heyting, C. Winch (edited by), Conformism and Critique in Liberal Society, ‘Journal of Philosophy of Education’, Vol. 38, Issue 3, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Incorporated. 2005, pp. 441-454 (European research project Kritik in der Pädagogik, published in German, English and Italian).
In addition, he has translated, edited and presented to Italian audiences the most recent essays of the German philosopher Karl-Otto Apel, collating them in three volumes in accordance with the philosopher's wishes: Karl-Otto Apel, Lezioni di Aachen e altri scritti [Aachen lessons and other papers], Pellegrini, Cosenza 2004; Karl-Otto Apel, Cambiamento di paradigma.
La ricostruzione trascendentalermeneutica della filosofia moderna [A change of paradigm. The transcendental and hermeneutic reconstruction of modern philosophy], Pellegrini, Cosenza 2005 and Karl-Otto Apel, Ermeneutica e filosofia trascendentale in Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Gadamer, Apel [Transcendental hermeneutics and philosophy in Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Gadamer, Apel], Pellegrini, Cosenza 2006.
He wrote a volume on Kant (Lettere a Kant. La trasformazione apeliana dell’etica kantiana) [Letters to Kant. Apel's transformation of Kantian ethics], Pellegrini Editore, 2005). Michele Borrelli wrote six letters in order that aporias and conflicts of the Kantian Reason can be overcome and also to think about ethics foundation or about philosophy and science and/or about social sciences. The six letters in the book are addressed to Kant as alternative remarks: according to transcendental pragmatic point of view and Karl-Otto Apel’s double passage, the argumentation is developed through the passage from knowing I to the co-subject or inter-subject and from the separation-distinction between practical reason, theoretical reason and esthetical reason to unification of these three meanings of reason in the meaning of the argumentative reason. Through a deep analysis that considers lot domains of philosophy and social theory (phenomenology, hermeneutic, logic of the social science, theory of knowledge, the “end of philosophy” theory and its revival through post metaphysic key), Lettere a Kant focuses on the problems that menace the humanity. Besides, Lettere a Kant provides practical and theoretical solutions to these problems through Karl-Otto Apel’s ethics of the speech. This one, unlike Kant’s ethics, represents a clear, illuminant and upriver answer.
He also edited, with M. Kettner, the volumes: Laudatio in honorem Karl-Otto Apel per il suo 85esimo compleanno, Pellegrini Editore, 2007; Filosofia trascendentalpragmatica - Transzendentalpragmatische Philosophie - Scritti in onore di Karl-Otto Apel per il suo 85esimo compleanno, Pellegrini Editore, 2007.
Among his recent publications: Difendiamo la democrazia. Per una didattica di prevenzione dell’illegalità e della criminalità organizzata, [Defend democracy. For a didactic prevention of illegality and organized crime], Pellegrini Editore, 2009; Filosofie Contemporanee, [Contemporary Philosophies], volume edited with Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, which has translated texts by French and German, Pellegrini Editore, 2010; the monographs: Postmodernità e fine della ragione, [Postmodernity and the end of reason], with an afterword by Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, Pellegrini Editore, 2010; Ermeneutica trascendentale e fondazione ultima di filosofia e scienza. Introduzione al pensiero di Karl-Otto Apel, [Hermeneutics transcendental and ultimate foundation of philosophy and science. Introduction to the Thought of Karl-Otto Apel], Pellegrini Editore, 2008; Lettere a Kant – La trasformazione apeliana dell’etica kantiana, Pellegrini Editore, 3a ed. 2010.
He also translated from german into italian the work: Worum geht es in der Philosophie? Grundfragen der Philosophie zwischen Wahrheit und Macht (LIT Verlag GmbH & Co. KG Wien, Zweigniederlassung Zürich 2008, LIT Verlag Dr. W.Hopf Berlin 2008), of the philosopher Reinhard Hesse, published in the Collana Methodology of Social Sciences, 18, Pellegrini Editore, 2010.
Among the recent works, the monograph: La ricerca del fondamento in pedagogia - Contro una pedagogia ridotta a scienza empirica, Pellegrini Editore, Cosenza 2011. The essays collected in this volume demonstrate that research foundation in the fields of 'science' of the humanities have to deal with two problems: firstly with the problem of the dominance of the logic of empirical sciences (explanatory sciences) over the logic of 'science' of comprehending; on the other hand it must be noticed that this logic of the explanatory sciences results in the loss of identity of 'science 'of comprehension. Referring to this problem, the research of foundation assumes an extended survey not only in the area of philosophical hermeneutic, but also of semiotics and extramethodic fields (Gadamer), which open the symbolic sphere and the possible agreement on norms and values. Taking the necessity of an open discussion into consideration, the ten essays collected in this volume follow various perspectives of the foundation of pedagogical thought. Starting from the methodological discussion of the differences between explanatory science and science of comprehension, the articles passes over to the fields of philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer), critical hermeneutics and philosophy of language as well as to pragmatic universalism (Habermas) and transcendental philosophy (Apel). Beyond an empirical point of view, the transcendental and generally reflexive method appears necessary to resume and re-discuss, among other things, the proposal of Kant to differentiate the concept of Reason within its unity and to remember the concept of Being of Heidegger as the foundation of truth.

 

Latest publications:

 

Karl-Otto Apel, Michele Borrelli, Holger Burkhart, Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, La fondazione dell'etica e la responsabilità per il futuro, Pellegrini Editore, 2013. The agile text that offers the reader, not only specialistic, is composed of contributions by Karl-Otto Apel, Michele Borrelli, Holger Burkhart and Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, developed around the question of foundation of ethics, today. Obviously a classic theme of Western philosophy, but present in its radical relevance in the contemporary world with some questions that require a response: What ethics for what future? It is unthinkable even a common language capable of giving foundation to ethics? And what are the possible criteria for such a foundation? Or you should speak, just yet, of ethics, as suggest the many languages of postmodern philosophy?  In the era of globalization that is not only an era of the possible globalization of communications and culture, but also an era of the possible devastation and of destruction of all life on Earth - such is the scientific and technical potential available to a man - ethics is not a viable instance or less and will, but the unavoidable instance and therefore categorial of which the paideia dialogical or of discourse must take full charge for the survival of the same planet Earth.

 

Michele Borrelli, Il tramonto della Paideia in Occidente, Pellegrini Editore, 2013. What remained of the great ethical project of the paideia of the West? There is still an idea of reason to which to link an ethical project of a possible future or are we completely subordinated to technical progress and to what Martin Heidegger has defined the oblivion of Being?

Western metaphysics from its remote origins up to the present day is really and of principle and for constitution nihilistic? From Nietzsche to Weber, it seems that the will to power and the technique are not, if not the way today's nihilism is articulated, ultimate fulfillment of the history of being as metaphysics but not as being.

If these are the preconditions of the intrusiveness and of the inevitability nihilistic of Western metaphysics, which paideia today is still thinkable? And would a return against the primordial question of the ti esti still be thinkable, if the history of being was and still is only history of metaphysics in its nihilistic form, story of a systematic impose of itself, radical and total impose of what to do rather of what?

The author emphasizes that it is not through scientism that paideia can find back to itself, instead it would be ethical responsibility to free it from the brink of nihilism in which it has sunken.


Globally, in the research activity and consequent scientific works has followed these fundamental topics: areas of general education in its historical and educational aspects, pedagogical-didactic, systematic and strictly epistemological - relationship philosophy-science-education - the foundation of the social sciences - intercultural education - critical pedagogy - transcendental pragmatic theory - theory teaching and practice - discourse ethics as a philosophical and pedagogical problem - the approaches of the contemporary philosophies in the perspective of self foundation - the research of foundation in education - theories and models of Bildung.

He founded and directs a series of publications concerning theoretical and practical pedagogics as well as the more specialist areas of social sciences (from philosophy to the problems of language, from sociology to the theory of knowledge and science, and from pragmatic perspectives to hermeneutic discourses, and so forth): “Methodology of social sciences”; “Theoretical and practical Pedagogy”; “Pedagogical Historiography” (Pellegrini Publisher).

He also founded and directs “Topologik” - International Journal of Philosophy, Educational and Social Sciences. Topologik is a Peer-Reviewed Journal. The Journal contains researches and studies regarding the ambits of Human and Social Sciences and of Theoretical Philosophy and of General Theory of Education.

He is also member of the Scientific Committee of «Internationaler Wissenschaftlicher Beirat des Jahrbuch für Bildungs- und Erziehungsphilosophie» and of the “Red” (Internacional Ética Del Discurso-Internationales Netzwerk Diskursethik-International Network Discourse Ethics) founded and directed by Prof. Dr. Dorando J. Michelini.
He cooperates with Wuppertal University (Chair of General Pedagogy: Prof. Dr. Rita Casale) and the University of Aachen (Chair of Philosophy: Prof. Dr. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt).
He is member of the Editorial Board of the Journal “Concordia” - International Journal of Philosophy, founded and directed by Prof. Raúl Fornet-Betancourt.
He is also a member of the Scientific Committee of Journal “Cirpit Review” (Italy) and of Journal “RED” (Argentina).

He is also, amongst other things, President of the “International Karl-Otto Apel Centre of Philosophy” and “Karl-Otto Apel International Prize for Philosophy”.

 

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