Education and Schmid's Art of Living: Philosophical, Psychological and Educational Perspectives on Living a Good Life, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Education and Schmid's Art of Living

Philosophical, Psychological and Educational Perspectives on Living a Good Life, 1st Edition

By Christoph Teschers


172 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367177898
pub: 2019-01-17
Hardback: 9781138680449
pub: 2017-06-14
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Instead of simply following the current neoliberal mantra of proclaiming economic growth as the single most important factor for maintaining well-being, Education and Schmid’s Art of Living revisits the idea of an education focused on personal development and the well-being of human beings. Drawing on philosophical ideas concerning the good life and recent research in positive psychology, Teschers argues in favour of shifting the focus in education and schooling towards a beautiful life and an art of living for today's students.  

Containing a thorough discussion of the ideas of contemporary German philosopher Wilhelm Schmid, this book considers the possible implications of developing a more humanistic and life-centred approach to educational policy, research and practice, showing that Schmid’s concept of Lebenskunst provides a firm philosophical basis for this endeavour. Among others, this book draws on analytical and continental traditions to challenge current views and assumptions in regard to education and the role of schooling for contemporary societies. As a result, Teschers’ work is sure to spark a debate about the direction of educational policy and practice in the 21st century.

Education and Schmid’s Art of Living is essential reading for academics and students with an interest in education. Given the importance of such topics as the relationship between education and society, teacher education and how best to structure schools and learning environments, Teschers’ work will appeal to academics and students in a diverse range of fields, including education, philosophy, sociology and psychology.


‘Teschers introduces the reader to the work of Wilhelm Schmid, a German theorist who urges us to develop our own art of living in order to live a beautiful life. With this pedagogical aspiration in mind, Teschers takes seriously the idea that we are individuals living in a social context and that learning is something we do throughout our lives, and not solely in the classroom. Using a clear and accessible writing style, Teschers offers practical and theoretical suggestions as to what a contemporary education should look like, and invites us to reflect upon individual and societal values as we aim at developing practical wisdom. This book will be of interest to a wide audience, particularly those interested in philosophy, education, psychology and well-being.’ – Laura D’Olimpio, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, The University of Notre Dame, Australia.

‘Teschers’ Education and Schmid’s Art of Living is a welcomed perspective to education at a time that tends to be dominated by narrow economic interests. Teschers’ book reinvigorates the ancient but perennial quest to seek a happy and good life – or in today’s terms, a sense of well-being. This rich and holistic notion of the good life involves engaging philosophically with emotions, feelings, attitudes, cognition, meaning-making, purposefulness, wisdom and spirituality, both for individuals and for society more generally. He explores these mainly through a dialogue between positive psychology and Schmid’s approach to a beautiful life. The result is a formulation of an art of living for education which is able to empower individual persons and all of society. Not only does an art of living require students to take a responsible role, but Teschers also explains how teachers might be able to offer a pedagogy that is able to educate for such an artful enterprise. I thoroughly recommend this book for those who are seeking how to make human life more meaningful and how education may once again serve this quest.’ – Scott Webster, Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Pedagogy, Deakin University, Australia

‘In this scholarly and readable work, Christoph Teschers brings the thoughts and ideas of contemporary German philosopher Wilhelm Schmid to an English–speaking audience. Drawing on rich philosophical traditions, which include the classical thinkers, Kant, and Foucault, Teschers argues that an education for the art of life is valuable, as it challenges the instrumentalist and economistic discourses dominating education, particularly at school level. Teschers builds a convincing case for showing that suffering and despair are part of human life, and can indeed be educative. The context of twenty-first century life that challenges traditional approaches to knowledge, opens the way to thinking differently about how to live life. How one may wish to live, rather than what it is one will do in life, is a central concern for Christoph Teschers, and this book makes a commendable contribution to addressing that concern.’ Leon W. Benade, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Research, School of Education, AUT University, New Zealand

Table of Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgements Preface 1. Introduction 2. Philosophical Concepts of the Art of Living 2.1 Various Interpretations of the Art of Living 2.2 Relevant Philosophical Concepts Explored The Philosophic Life – Socrates Hedonism – Epicurus Eudaimonia – Aristotle The Morally Good Life – Kant The Care of the Self – Foucault 3. Emotions and the Good Life 3.1 Defining Feelings, Emotions and Affects 3.2 A Classification of Emotions – Past, Present, Future 3.3 Defining Relevant Emotional Concepts Sensational and Attitudinal Pleasures Happiness and Eudaimonia Joy and Enjoyments Satisfaction and Contentment Well-Being and Subjective Well-Being 3.4 Positive and Negative Emotions 3.5 Suffering and Despair 3.6 The Good Life 4. Positive Psychology and the Art of Living 4.1 The Relevance of Positive Psychology for an Art of Living 4.2 The Usage of Terms 4.3 Subjective Well-Being and Positive Emotions Emotions About the Past Emotions About the Future Emotions About the Present 4.4 Enhancing Positive Emotions and Enduring Happiness Positive Emotions Enduring Happiness Signature Strengths and the Six Core Virtues 4.5 Flow Why Flow? What is Flow? Social and Cultural Perspectives Limitations of Optimal Experience 4.6 Meaning in Life and Harmony Purpose Resolve Harmony 5. “Lebenskunst” – Schmid’s Concept of the Art of Living 5.1 Schmid’s Approach 5.2 Choice and Freedom Problems of Choice Choice and the Art of Living Education and Choice 5.3 The Quest for a New Art of Living Philosophy of the Art of Living Ethical Considerations Descriptions of the Art of Living Fundamental Questions 5.4 The Care of the Self The Subject of the Care of the Self The Labour of Care 5.5 An Educational Perspective Hermeneutics Techniques for an Art of Living Education for the Art of Living 6. Lebenskunst and Positive Psychology in Dialogue 6.1 The Relevance of the Art of Living and Positive Psychology Today 6.2 Concepts and Definitions of a “Good Life” 6.3 Concepts of the Self 6.4 Social Influences on Individual Human Beings 6.5 Control Over Consciousness and the Care of the Self 7. An Educational Approach to the Art of Living 7.1 Reasons for an Educational Approach 7.2 An End of Education 7.3 The Importance of the Art of Living for Education 7.4 An Educational Critique of Schmid’s Concept “Lebenskunst” 8. Beyond Schooling 8.1 Education and Schooling – a German Perspective 8.2 De-Schooling and the Art of Living The De-Schooling Critique Possible Ways Out 8.3 The Art of Living and Schooling 9. Life-Pedagogy – An Education for Life Concept 9.1 Pedagogical Content and Practice Skills and Knowledge Hermeneutics Bildung Wisdom Spirituality and Education Mindsets and Attachments 9.2 Requirements for Teaching the Art of Living The Teacher, His or Her Personality and Developing an Art of Living Pedagogical Approaches for Teaching the Art of Living Teaching Settings and School Context Implications for Teacher Education 10. Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Christoph Teschers has held a range of positions at New Zealand tertiary institutions since 2012 and is currently faculty member at the College of Education, University of Canterbury. Following a period of study at the Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy in education at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Dr Teschers’ research interests include well-being, the art of living, positive psychology, and philosophy for children.

About the Series

New Directions in the Philosophy of Education

This book series is devoted to the exploration of new directions in the philosophy of education. After the linguistic turn, the cultural turn, and the historical turn, where might we go? Does the future promise a digital turn with a greater return to connectionism, biology and biopolitics based on new understandings of system theory and knowledge ecologies? Does it foreshadow a genuinely alternative radical global turn based on a new openness and interconnectedness? Does it leave humanism behind or will it reengage with the question of the human in new and unprecedented ways? How should philosophy of education reflect new forces of globalization? How can it become less Anglo-centric and develop a greater sensitivity to other traditions, languages, and forms of thinking and writing, including those that are not routed in the canon of Western philosophy but in other traditions that share the ‘love of wisdom’ that characterizes the wide diversity within Western philosophy itself. Can this be done through a turn to intercultural philosophy? To indigenous forms of philosophy and philosophizing? Does it need a post-Wittgensteinian philosophy of education? A postpostmodern philosophy? Or should it perhaps leave the whole construction of 'post'-positions behind?

In addition to the question of the intellectual resources for the future of philosophy of education, what are the issues and concerns that philosophers of education should engage with? How should they position themselves? What is their specific contribution? What kind of intellectual and strategic alliances should they pursue? Should philosophy of education become more global, and if so, what would the shape of that be? Should it become more cosmopolitan or perhaps more decentred? Perhaps most importantly in the digital age, the time of the global knowledge economy that reprofiles education as privatized human capital and simultaneously in terms of an historic openness, is there a philosophy of education that grows out of education itself, out of the concerns for new forms of teaching, studying, learning and speaking that can provide comment on ethical and epistemological configurations of economics and politics of knowledge? Can and should this imply a reconnection with questions of democracy and justice?

This series comprises texts that explore, identify and articulate new directions in the philosophy of education. It aims to build bridges, both geographically and temporally: bridges across different traditions and practices and bridges towards a different future for philosophy of education.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects