This essay is an attempt to add to the argument that beauty matters in education through offering a reciprocal but interconnected point: if the dynamic harmony and deep connectedness of beauty need to be taken seriously, so must their aesthetic converse–the disharmony and estrangement of failure. While the discourse of philosophical aesthetics has long included categories such as the beautiful, the good, and the virtuous, the seeds for achievement of these ideals are planted in the soil of disharmony, uncertainty, and failure. Using a Deweyan account of art as experience, this essay argues that disharmony and failure are as much aesthetic categories as harmony and beauty and must be taken as seriously in teaching and learning. It further argues that failure, rather than beauty, is often more suited to providing the foundation for unlocking the unique potential of students and helping them cultivate their capacity for creative thought and action.

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