Learning as valuing: Toward a process philosophy of education for sustainable development

In his book Thinking Ecologically, Bruce Morito recommends a process model to understand the ecological foundations of valuing. In his view “[a]ll valuations and valuers, being consequences of evolutionary and ecological processes nested within different levels of organization of valuational activity, are parts of a valuational network such that it becomes impossible to separate the valuer from this network in any radical way” (Morito, 111). This notion of valuing stands in direct contradiction to the liberal views that values are externally bestowed by human beings or gods or that value is determined by human assigning of essential intrinsic worth. Alfred North Whitehead’s cosmology, where the universe is “value-existence” and “self value is the unit fact which emerges” and “[a]ctuality is the enjoyment … of value,” elaborates the process cosmological foundations of value. This paper takes up Morito’s insight and uses Whitehead’s cosmology to formulate how learning conceptualized as the process of valuing can provide a basis for education for sustainable development.