Why Reading Towards a Phenomenological Axiology. Discovering What Matters by Roberta De Monticelli: Notes of a Fox who Wanted to be a Hedgehog


  • Letizia Caronia Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna




Phenomenology, Axiology, Roberta De Monticelli, Values, Social sciences


This article reviews the outstanding and thought-provoking work by Roberta De Monticelli (2021), Towards a Phenomenological Axiology. Discovering What Matters. The article addresses the reasons why it should be read by everyone but especially by help professions practitioners. Although we all deal with morality and value judgments on on mundane, everyday bases, the professional life of education and care practitioners is namely a series of morally-loaded practices and decision-making informed by morally oriented (expert) knowledge. Beyond the thesis advanced in the book, its major contribution consists in making the reader think the inescapability of morality in everyday thinking and acting and the need for a reflective positioning towards this issue. By aligning with “the hedgehog vs. the fox” struggle proposed by the author as the framework of her theoretical proposal, the article advances what would be the doubts and counterarguments of a fox-like scholar in education. It illustrates why her “professional vision” cannot but notice what appears to be under-thematized by the hedgehog, i.e., the unavoidable mediation of language and social interaction that precedes and therefore impacts the constitution of what the hedgehog convincingly notices: the entanglement of fact and value. The conclusion is dedicated to the (underestimated?) place of social sciences in such a debate, their tension between implicit normativity and presumed descriptivity, as well the challenges of the increasingly explicit normativity of applied social sciences.


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How to Cite

Caronia, L. (2022). Why Reading Towards a Phenomenological Axiology. Discovering What Matters by Roberta De Monticelli: Notes of a Fox who Wanted to be a Hedgehog. Encyclopaideia, 26(64), 81–105. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1825-8670/15538