‘Something extra’: In defence of an uncanny humanism

Cohen, Josh. 2022. ‘Something extra’: In defence of an uncanny humanism. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 56(1), pp. 173-179. ISSN 0309-8249 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article proposes literature and psychoanalysis as forms of critical education, putting in urgent question the market-driven, instrumental models of learning that currently dominate higher education policy. In psychoanalytic terms, it argues, the primary mechanism at work in such a policy is what psychoanalysis calls splitting, which involves above all a kind of banishment of doubt and a rigid assurance in the rightness of the status quo that precludes meaningful change or transformation in the self and the world. The article goes on to identify in psychoanalysis and literature more ‘unsplit’ modes of thinking that refuse the reduction of the human being to a purely functional value. It ends with a reading of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a critical meditation on this reductive tendency.

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Identification Number (DOI):



humanism, Ishiguro, literature, psychoanalysis, uncanny

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


31 January 2022Accepted
13 March 2022Published Online

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Date Deposited:

15 Mar 2022 10:23

Last Modified:

27 Apr 2022 12:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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