Transformative Adult Learning: Turn towards a «Holistic Understanding of Subjectivity»


  • Lyudmyla Gorbunova Institute of Higher Education of National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine



theory of transformative adult learning, Jack Mezirow, critical reflection, frame of references,, rational-cognitive approach, Holistic Understanding of Subjectivity, holism, enactivism, embodied cognition approach, affective framing


According to the challenges of  globalization age and demands of  international community to determine the role and content of education in the processes of transformation, internationalization and integration, there are some problems of transformative education for adults both on theoretical and practical plane: what is a nature  of  "Holistic Subjectivity’s" transformation; which role do rational and extra-rational components of cognitive processes perform; what adequate pedagogical practices should be; what creative potential of individuals is revealed through new semantic horizons. 

In the process of intersubjective becoming, the theory of transformative learning, founded by Jack Mezirow, has found both its internal and external development potential. The first one is ability of the Theory to self-transformation on the basis of scientific communication, critical reflection and rational discourse. The second one is related to openness and inclusiveness of the Theory in pluralistic space of methodologies of the transdisciplinary science.  The combination of internal and external development factors has created the conditions for implementation of a methodological turn-shifting emphasis from rational-cognitive paradigm to enactivism as a concept that is based on the principles of holism, corporeality, affectivity, emotionality of cognitive processes and their self-organization as complex dynamic systems. This allowed us to look at the person's transformation as a corporeal and affective reframing and make a conclusion about his important role in the transformative adult learning. 

In the context of the given methodological turn, the main task is to mobilize researchers’ attention to the nature and role of all extra-rational components of transformative learning. It is the enactivist approach, including theory of self-organization of complex dynamical systems, which can help us clarify the role of feelings and dynamics of a holistic living body in the person's transformation.

Author Biography

Lyudmyla Gorbunova, Institute of Higher Education of National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine

Doctor of philosophical sciences (hab.), Chief Researcher, Institute of Higher Education of National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine; Editor-in-Chief of Journal «Філософія освіти. Philosophy of Education», Vice-president of the Ukrainian Society of Philosophy of Education.


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How to Cite

Gorbunova, L. (2017). Transformative Adult Learning: Turn towards a «Holistic Understanding of Subjectivity». Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 20(1), 97–127.






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