The next article in the Harry Potter and Philosophy collection is by Patrick Shade (Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rhodes College, TN ), and is entitled “Heroic Hermione: Celebrating the Love of Learning.” As the title suggests, the spotlight here is on Hermione Granger. Gather ’round all ye bookworms, because Prof. Shade does justice to Hermione’s dedication to reading and study.
Here’s an abstract of his article (below the jump).
Using American Pragmatist William James’s insights into the blindness that our practical nature can cause in pursuing narrow purposes, Shade argues that Hermione Granger stands out as a unique character in the Harry Potter series due to her liberatory love of learning. Her devotion to learning helps her to transcend the limits of narrow purposes, providing Harry and Ron much needed information and insight.
After characterizing the habits that constitute the love of learning (including curiosity, discipline, and self-direction), Shade draws out two significant lessons about Hermione that James and fellow American Pragmatist John Dewey help us to appreciate. The first is that her intellectual virtues fund her moral character, especially her commitment to the cause of “elf justice.” The second is that she eventually integrates the benefits of theoretical and practical thinking, showing that the love of learning is both liberating and effective. While not entirely free of certain blindnesses herself, Hermione’s love of learning provides her with the qualities needed to overcome her own limitations, much in the way that Dumbledore overcame his blindness as a young man vis-a-vis Grindelwald.