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On Paulo Freire's Philosophy of Praxis and the Foundations of Liberation Education Author(s): Ronald David Glass Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Mar., 2001), pp. 15-25 Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3594336 Accessed: 22/08/2009 14:50
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leavit to us.2000). Manypeopleengagedin progressive for struggles justiceteachers.1990.or helpedto enableso manyof the world'sdisempoweredturneducationtowardtheirown dreams. democraciesareenrichedby the voices of the poor and workingclass ideashaveentered amplifiedthroughFreirean projects.S. and respects the plural conceptions of the good which can shape moral and politicallife. 30. The dominant (neo)conservative discourseblames the victims of these policies for their own suffering. At the classroom .coupled with the growingincome gap betweenthe rich and poor (Center on Budgetand PolicyPriorities. 2000).1999). 1993).justasit prompted on self to reflectcritically the strengthsand limits of his theory deathin May 1997 stilledhis own voice (Freire. & Pedescleaux. Most multiculturaleducationapproaches fail to address injustice and the challenges of transforminginequitablepowerrelations(McCarthy. and the ideological attack on public schools and teachers threatens deeply grounded democratic possibilitiesin the culture (Berliner& Biddle. Educational Vol. thusreinscribing justifying and povertyandpowwith and theirassociation particular erlessness (il)literacies through AmerLow-income failure standardized (Shannon.1999). in printin Englishalone. 1999).a world still mournsPaulo Freire. All theseeffects.It outlines a more consistent historicistinterpretation of liberation education that retains the liberatory power of modernism and its critiqueof dehumanization. recognizes the malleability and contradictionsof identity. 1995).and citizensfrom everywalk of life-who readFreire found reflections theirown thinking.manywho studiedhis workdiscovered worth translating theirown coninto practices texts.Freire's educational fromthe mostcosmopolitan discourse centersto the mostremotecorners the earth. 1996). and even moreso when thereis a downturnin the overall economy. ideasin Pedagogy The (1970) ofthe Oppressed havebeen appliedon everycontinent. 1994.Freire's betweenliberation theoryaboutthe relationship and educationhas inspiredand informedcountlessefforts to make life more humane for those oppressedby economic and that structures deniedthem theirdignity.rights. 2000). No. pp. on tests 1998). publiceducation vativeagendas.S. the by of still and struggles the oppressed drawfromhis insights. and even antiracistpedagogiescan succumbto accommodationto the statusquo (Flecha. 1997).in projectsrangingfrom basicliteracyprograms nationaleducationalpolito grassroots cies. Freire's to and haltedhis personalcontributions criticalpedagogy.2000). Fiof nally. and toward evermorenarrow conserpressU. icans face an increasing educationgap as the testing stakesget raised aspublicschoolresources morebroadly are and privatized. democratic societies. little has been accomwherepeopleof coloroccupyedplishedevenin urbandistricts ucationaland civic leadership positions (Henig. the survivors. Meanof while.movement activists. 15-25 Freire him& 1994. voter initiativecampaignsmarginalize voices of in schoolsandreinvigorate exclusionary an speakers non-English linguisticcolonialism(Macedo.suggestingthat a moral poverty prefigurestheir social and economic predicaments (Bennett.Livesand institutionalspacesarestillbeingtransformed his contributions.McLaren Leonard. McLaren& Lankshear.manywho heardFreire of speakfound shapefor their own words.andnot sinceJohnDeweyhave of the thoughts of a philosopherof education impacted such a broadsphereof publiclife in the U. and thus little changein the dailylivesof the poorwho areconcentratedthere. Orr. Without a clearfocuson the politics of schooling and the need for community organizingto build and sustain meaningful reform.andcompletethe tasksremaining buildjust.communityorganizers. Nieto. 2. A pedagogy the oppressed as neededtodayaswhen Freire of is firstarticulated Globaleconomicforcesand domesticpolitics it. At the the same time. Researcher. The 20th anniversary the publication Pedagogy of of ofthe Opa globalbest-seller with more than half a million copies pressed.to sustain his legacy. Hula. Freire'slegacy is unprecedented an educator:None for in otherhasinfluenced of practice sucha wide array contextsand cultures. Vouchersand school choice plans reinforceand extend educational. Nearlyfour yearsafterhis death.embraces epistemic uncertainties and the varieties of reason in knowledge.the essay arguesthat this understanding liberationeducation requiresan ethics grounded in militantnonviolence.I I On Paulo Freire's Philosophy of Praxis and the Foundations of Liberation Education by RonaldDavidGlass This essay examinesthe ontologicaland epistemologicalfoundations of PauloFreire'sphilosophyof praxisand critiquesthe structure of his argument. the reformism the (neo)liberals produceslittle change in either urbanschools or their largercontext (Anyon. workers.1994b). economic. and socialinequality(Carnoy. promisepredictable populanegative consequencesfor historicallydisadvantaged tions.students. translatehis ing to vision. Freire's critical"pedagogy possibility" of offerstheoretical and alternatives both the (neo)conservative (neo)libto and practical eraldiscourses practices and (McLaren.prompteda numberof scholars unto dertakefreshanalysesof Freire's work and to situateit historically as the progenitorof a new domainof educational inquiry and practice(Giroux& Macedo.and ideological self-determination.
aimedat empowering level. 1998). . Freirecontinuesto be mustered service to in a wide rangeof theoretical battles.races.andpresents and I| EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER some of the critiquesthat underminethe argumentative structureof the theory. however. Interestin Freire's mental ideas is strong enough to prompt the HarvardEducationalReviewto reprinthis 1970 seminalessayson culturalaction forfreedom(Freire. for a sampling). James. p.so freedomrequires peopleto engagein a kind of historico-cultural politicalpsychoFreire the analysis. 1998c). the theory Gadotti.a permanent the fullestpossibleexpression humanexistence. that recogbut nizesthe malleability contradictions identity(at both the of and level of the individualand of classes. Haddad.embracesthe ineliminableepistemicuncertainties varietiesof and of reasonin our knowing.The struggle necessary causethe situationcontainsnot only this possibilityfor humanDehumanizationmakes ization.Cavanagh. of & 1994b. and moreteachereducators are encouragingcritical pedagogicalpracticesamong theirstudents. 1997). of praxisat the centerof 1992). whileat the levelof ourconcrete pracand tices.It outlinesa moreconsistentundergirding for educationasa practice freedomas "akindofhistorico-cultural of and political psychoanalysis"4 a more defensible"progressive the (Freire. of The remainder this articlesketchesthe philosophical foundationsof Freire's viewof liberation education.andforacademic presses suchas Berginand Garvey.Freire Faundez.Falmer.is to change (Marx& Engels. Social movementsand activists havetranslated Freire's ideasinto orgawith broadapplicability (Arnold. p.In the everyday to world. equality & 1989. havebeenraised It aboutitssoundness.curricula young childrenand develtheir capacitiesto resistinterpersonal and promote bias oping have been finding wider audiences(Derman-Sparks. do not havethe luxuryof cursory idolatrous or of Freire's study to for theorysince any improvements it offerpossibilities more effectivestruggle. Given the Marxian philosophy his theory.2Althoughsystemic school reformeffortsbasedon Freire's theoryhavebeen limited to the Brazilian context (Freire. Hang. & Mayo.reflective.1994.and respects plurality compelling the of the good whichcanshapemoralandpoliticallife. the durability their is the arguments far less certain.fromthe politicsof differto culturalstudies. These dehumanizing forcesresidein both the material psyand chic conditionsof personsand situations.Freire's claim for his practiceto be the most telling basisforjudgmenthasits merits.& Thomas. arguesthat overcoming limitsof situationsis ultimatelyan educationalenterprisethat he calls a practiceof form of culturalre-creation that enables freedom. 1998). Freire'stheory was based on an ontological argument that positedpraxisas a centraldefiningfeatureof human life and a condition of freedom. was part of a praxis.1996).At the level of our being human. Freirearguedthat the struggleto be free. 1999). Schniedewind Davidson. 2000) and a spirecontinuingrevolutionary wide arrayof transformative programs(see the specialissue of guest Convergence editedby Allman. p. Education as a Practice of Freedom: Freire's Argument his Freire of as developed conceptionof education a practice freedom froma critical reflection various on adulteducation projects he undertookin Brazilin the late 1950s and early 1960s (see of Thatis.Freireacknowledged limits of his theoretical defendedthe core of statements. of the openwaysof beingwithinanygivensiting up choicesamongvarious uation. of Freire Further. and formulaDespitethe vastpanoplyof activities theoretical tions that claimallegiance or derivation to from Freire's theory. people objectsof historyand culture. seems important questions that often a blind eye is turnedtowardthesetheoretical difficulties.meaningful and activitysituatedwithin dynamichistorical culturalcontexts that shapeand set limitson that activity. and workersarefindingcritical literacyskillsusefulin workplace struggles(Hull. 55. at leastone majorprojectis underway the in U.1970. O'Cadiz.and SUNY to devote book seriesto criticalpedagogy. 1998. p. largely & Torres. conceptions Insofaras this challengecan be met. 1991. to be human and makehistoryandculturefromthe givensituation.Burke.' The organic literaciesof the working class are being harnessedto contest the deformingmessages the dominantschool culture of (Cushman. nizingprograms Martin. 145.in various philosophers ways. ence. fundaKrank.but this defensedoes not abroRadicals gateour obligationto examinecloselyFreire's analysis. 10) that preserves postmodernism" ethicaland politicalthrustat the coreof Freire's ideas.1994b. opportunities embodyfreedom arerealized throughcommitmentsto strugglefor one way of life or another."reflection and action upon the world in orderto transformit" (Freire.is an inherent in is bepossibility the humancondition.freedomis not a givenbut is always precarious mustbe achieved. 1998b. However.The praxisthat defines human existenceis markedby this historicity.3Beyondall this. It is truethat perspective Freire took to heartone of Marx's of critiques Feuerbach-"The haveonly interpretedthe world.Freirecontendedthat human necessary natureis expressed throughintentional.McLaren.the it" point.to feminismand racematters(Steiner.and manytheoretical practical and challenges must be facedin orderto realizeFreire's vision and hope.Humanhistoricity enables realization freedom.Wong.Freire's and theoryinlife dreams(McLaren.2000). this emphasisin original)-and accomplished point on a scale honoring Marx himself. holds that democraticsocialismprovidesthe necessary conditions for each personto achievehis or her freedom.to become fullyhuman. and insteadan adoringgaze treatsFreiremore as icon and myththanas a radical philosopher subjectto the limitsof history anda necessarily situated (Weiler. At the same time. 36). but also for dehumanization. Finn.freedomcan neverbe eliminated fromexistence.Routlege.but steadfastly his theoryandjuxtaposed in inconsistencies his theoryagainst his morecongruent radical andhis rightto evolvemorenupractice ancedarticulations his view (Freire.The chalpowerof lenge is to constructa view that retainsthe liberatory modernismand its critiqueof dehumanization.generating evenwidereffects(Wink.1998. while Marx'sand Freire's in of legaciesareassured the thicknessof life. Freire's philosophiclegacy will endure. 1978.1994).1993.this dialectical interplaybetweenthe way in which historyand culturemake people even while people aremakingthat veryhistoryand culture.& Bahruth.2000). fora review thisemergence).and deniestheir capacity to also be self-definingsubjectscreatinghistory and culture.and genders).S. Findlay.
evenashistory andcultureproducethem.criticalexperimentalpractice aimedat overcomingproblems.5 Within this tradition. andthe moreclearly are theydiscernwhythings(andthemselves) as they areand howthey could be otherwise.people in But littleuseof intelligence. knowledgegetsconstructed and testing hypotheses intended to reestablish by forming smooth functioningor enlargeeffectivecoping habits.p. is not a necessity.which emphasizes their implementationin politics.the goal he and Dewey shared.Situations identitiescongealin the course and of time underthe pressof historyand culture. evolutionary.Freire's to integratedeliberative communicativeactions in and tempts cultureandhisrole and theirparticular distinctive in producing is that humansare For Freire. Now." themaking which laythemselves to orcomthey open remitthemselves the"way" theymake thattherefore to that and in makes themaswell.cultural. human Education is essential community. but must be into specificformsthat enablethe realizashapedand nurtured tion of what is best and most fruitfulfor a community. the powerof freedom.some type of education and moral life mediatesthe cultivationof human natureinto ideal forms of individualand social existence.culture.but on the discontinubeings ities.he betweenhuman builthis theorynot so muchon the continuities and the restof the animalworld.Freirethinks that if we fail to grasphow the capacityfor historical.it is Freire followsa long tradition structure. open communication with minimal barriers. Dewey's naturalized to philosophypostulateda biologicalsubstrate explainthe preeminent value of scientificand democraticpractices(Dewey. 1994b.developmental while Freireelecteda humanistview that reliedon a approach.Freireand in Dewey groundedtheirarguments ontologicalinterpretations to of humanexistenceand assumedthis as necessary orientany educational intendedto enablehumanfloursuccessful practice ishing. important animalsthat operatenot only from reflex. cathat 1916/1966). groundshis theoryof liberation provides but and the openingfor concreteeffortsto transform realities. oppressive A practical graspof historicityby the oppressedmeansthey understand theirsituationand themselves fatalistically an not as stateof affairs if theirsuffering justifiedby was (as unchangeable divinewill or naturallaw.what is crucially tory.or even intellithey areanimalsthat exist meaningfully gent creativeresponse. the most successful adaptations requireknowledge in formedand warranted particular ways (Dewey. 1920/1957). of historicity thus not only defineshumannaontologicaltruth turefor Freire.This inis to telligentadaptation the environment subjectin turnto furthercyclesof modification development.on freedomand the capacity createforms("ways") of life.emphasis original) p. lifewouldnot riseto thelevelof existence wouldrather but remain at the levelof instinctandbasicsurvival needs. which refinesthem to producesoundly warranted knowledge.and close attentionto the consequencesof actions.but most imporof tantlyalsounderthe influence humanaction. Freirewould agree with most points in this summaryof Dewey's conception of human existence.. 1922/1930).and communityare dependenton to education. Dewey'snaturalistic focuson continuitiesperhaps explains his relativeemphasison deliberativeprocessesand behaviors with otheranimals thusmorecloselytied to biology) and (shared less and the comparatively attentionhe devotesto communicaand the humanistic reverses emphasis atview tiveaction.andtheyarethus to The to susceptible humanintervention.As Freire it put I cannot understand humanbeingsas simplyliving.Education drawsout thesepossibilities fromhumannature. newsituations practice. usefulto note its overall in philosophy when he links a particularunderstandingof with a conceptionof the properformation both of humannature self and society. in contrast.history.These conditionsexplainboth the power of science.6we will fail to be able to transformsociety towarda vision of justice and democracy. sociallyexisting.the more effective MARCH 2001 |117 . or was the just dessertsof individual but theirdailylives as presentfailures).in Beforeexamining summary this argument moredetail.Dewey had a comparison conceptionof human existenceand he held biological-organic that educationwas a lifelong processof growth and development intrinsicto individualand socialself-realization (Dewey. He maintained humanbeingsarecreatures to the environof socialand critically reflective pable adaptation mentto enabletheirsuccessful of coping(satisfaction basicneeds). requiring or which habitsproveinadequate problemsemergemake conduct becomemoredeliberate.andthusboth the theoryandapplication of educationas a practice freedom"takethe people'shisof toricityas theirstarting point"(Freire. in and with the worldof historyand culturethathumansthemselveshaveproduced. and culturally. That is.Dewey opted for a naturalismthat relied on a scientific. the maximal insure and development thosecapacities a successful the survival civilization of (itselfmerely adaptation).and the strengthof democracy.and at the of sametime instillsa moralordercapable resisting impulsesthat is good for eachpersonand the threaten attainment what the of thus because withoutit.(Freire. a brief will help clarifyFreire'sargument. 65). For Dewey. and Dewey arguedthat the same conditions that maximizethis those linkedto the evolutionary adaptive potentialareprecisely formationof the idealsociety:full participation. Theysee thatlife (includingthemselves) couldbe different.includingone's identityand self-understanding. essentially the definingontological humanis thatpeopleproducehistoryandculture. in via acthabitually patterns transmitted imitated Mostly.habit.I can understandthem only as historically. The dialectical interplaybetween existenceand context revealsthat any givensituation.But.1994a. I can understand of themonlyas beings who aremakers their in of "way.. Language. do and that this abilitydifferslittle fromwhat othercreatures in orderto survive. though they had somewhat different interpretations throughwhich to frametheirtheories. Practical reasonand knowledgearecentralin the workof ethicalandpoliticalformation. rather they understand for ing concreteproblemsalongwith opportunities transformation. humannaturealone cannotproducethe good life. 97. Humanbeingssimplyhaveparticular capacities for intelligence socialorganization enablethe formation and that of of culture.linguistic praxismakesus differentfrom the restof the organicand inorganicworld. Freire's view parallels and John Dewey'spragmatism.not so much as deliberative tools but as integralto the actionscreatingcultureand history. culturaland historicistconceptionof freedomthat insiststhat and humansshouldnot be the mereanimalsthatoppressors opto turn them into. pressivesystemstry of feature being ForFreire.In other words.
for human ontologicalcapacities.1994). 98. 99. Here we see the things connection between Freire'sontological and epistemological the are arguments. futurethatcannot a be simplydeclared into existence mustbe achieved. from the privacyof family life to the public the of spheres the stateandmassmedia. 1994b. bind peopletogetherin and andsometimes contexts.These ordersactuallypreventboth the oppressor oppressed and classesfrom achievingthe deepest of humanization freedom. he of the emphasizes particularity each individualresponseto the that demandsof the humancondition. of tenpermanent sion betweenconsciousness the world. liberationstruggle is alwaysa possibleprerogative the oppressed.does not contain. Here Freireis extendinghis argumentabout liberation. and situation requires the of achievement a kind of knowledgethatreaches behindthe way areto graspthe way things came to be. denialdefines or dehumanization oppression.must graspthe outwarddirection... 98). into which they havebeenthrownby theirbirth.p. institutions.Inauthentic waysof beingdistortthisontologicalessenceof beinghuman. While the context"programs" their peopleto see and experience situationin a particular it does not "determine" people how way.. oppressed challenged see beyondindividThe are ualisticexperiences particular and situationsto discernthe force of systemsand ideologiesthat permeatetheir daily lives. forceshighlightthe features andtheselarger everyday experience of problematic that "limit-situations" must be changedby collective "limit-acts" both contest those systemsand ideolothat or gies and aim at "untestedfeasibilities" possiblefutureswith morespacefor self-determination Freire.the oppressed to overcomethe limits in the context. p. in tionwhosecontrary distortion history" is (Freire.Therefore. mustincludean understanding the dialectical. oppressed facedwith the chalof knowing systematically determinately and what is allenge knownexperientially uncritically.yet theyareableto takeup specific stanceswithin that contextand makeof it what they may. Both liberationand oppressionarehistorical. we live the life of a distortion thecall-never another of in 1994b.to humanization. People then becomecritically as consciousof themselves the verysorts of creatures produce(andareproduced theircultureand that by) and to realize theirfreedomtheybecomeengagedin libhistory..8The knowledge that enablessuch a critiqueof the situation. in dehumanization. inand humanizingactionpeopleunderstand becomecritically tentionalabout theircreationof cultureand history.The situational vent freedomarethus alsoalwaysinternaland not only external to individuals.. "stepsback"from itselfandfiom thelife it leads.The practiceof freedom.betweensubjectivity and and objectivity.Freire's theologicalontology shadesinto the Marxist rethatreinterpreted of Hegel'sanalysis the Master-Slave politics essenceof the oppres(Torres. Epistemically. exceptas the vocabeingmore.For Freire.p.. and even outlinespossiblepsychologicalstatesand the most intimateaspectsof a self..self-realizing. 98). 1994b).By refusing accedeto its subing systems the detreof ordinated positionandworkingto understand raison in its structural classhas an advantage formation.andthrough humanexistence. and possibilities the oppressed classfacesdailythe impositions the dehumanizof to of an unjustsociety. p. so on. Freireusedthis ontologicalanchorto orienthis furtherargumentsto establish ethicalandpoliticalclaimsfora privileged position for the oppressedin the strugglefor liberation. from idenconstraints that pretity to feelingsand desires. deploysthe theological cationto build a link betweenparticular contingentchoices. and the self. Freeactionstrives go beyondthe givenreality positandcreto to ate a new futurethrougheffortandstruggle.soof and breach critique cial.7 in an illusionof its own indepenfundamentally Caught the class denceandfreedom.It establishes fieldwithin which freeactioncan move. the oppressed and that ready must make good senseout of commonsense. it generates as so.1994b. self-determining. that of politicalpsychoanalysis reveals theformation the selfand in its situation all theirdynamicand dialectical relations. individuals as a class. only makesthe demandformethods . p. calling. is. in Freire notionof voemphasis original). while from an ontological point of the marks to view. and ideologicalorders.1994b.does not containhumanization.socialrelations.He and universal humanization. 99.as a criticalreflexive praxis. Humanbeingsinhabit.On the otherhand.Human or to freedomis not outsideparticular but situations is geared them. . and only nature: those certainchoicesaretrue to our most fundamental "Humanization the] ontologicalvocation of human being" [is (Freire.a calling. itself in history. emphasis original). curious.oppression. self-understandings that comprisea people'sculture.political."Just humannature. structure oppression(dehumanization). place. which [W]earethisbeing-a beingof ongoing. but Freirearguedthat liberation.collectiveactions of classes. identities.selftheirinterventions be to enablegreater andcommunitycan to realization.and their interrelation are contingent facts. of Forthe oppressed. (see The historical.humanhistoricity precisely possibility choose one wayof life or another. most primordialaspects of This vocationembodiesfreedom.He maintained universal humanizationis about concrete choices in history..Personal choices represents freedomas expressedin particular only one in a dialecticthat embraces socialaspectof all elements the pole to of the situation.for by conjoiningthe theologicalnotions of calling and vocation. larger. and consequences action. as part and parcelof itself.this interplaydoes not undermine or but knowledge certainty.The connections between global.includingthe self. a wantsto invokea typeof authenticity distinguishes wayof that living that expressesthe deepest.ideology.and social backgroundshapes the presentcontext."Itwouldbe impossible dehumanizewithout being dehumanized-so deep are the social in rootsof the calling" (Freire. and standards. [W]e live the and life of a vocation.and areinhabitedby. areor canbe (Freire. Peoplearenot freeto choose the time.meanof ing. search. and of educationas a practiceof freedommust includea kind of historico-cultural. acts the of and eratory thatchallenge limits(internal external) particularsituationsthat maintainoppression injustice.emphasis original) (Freire.1994a.1994b. oppressor cannotmakethe required with the concreteeconomic. The inescapable lationship whatis most sorclassis thatit embodiesa wayof life thatdistorts human.and alsoits inwardmeaningas the realization articulation a self.meanings.to discernthe as and truth of their nature.cultural. interveningstrategically Given the ontologicalcapacityfor intentionallydirectingculturalre-formation towardhumanizingends. RESEARCHER 1811EDUCATIONAL and deny some people the possibilityand right of being selfThis and defining. the and structures.
a wide rangeof criticism echoesthe broadchorusof praisefor Freire's theoryof liberation and education. and capacityto producereality. epistemological. truth. forcultural of ucationas a practice freedom.liberaand standards normsin favorof some rather tion entails a people'sstruggleto be. andaccepted no guarantees is of Conscientization thusa modeof isticreinvention citizenship.He ity. Freireunderstoodhow fragileand contingentthis strugglehad the that couldwarrant humanto be. in of one lifealways theprocess becoming. 1994a) not simply at the communicative linto levels. therecan be neithergenuinecriticalknowledgenor authentic modesof being.and suggestwaysin which some of his conclusions can be preserved bettersupportedeven if the specificsof his or fail. theirprimordial the transcending presentlimits and expressing to realWithout the struggle transform powerof humanization. of as ethicindicates the precisely importance education a practice of freedomfor a successful revolutionbecauseit enablesthe onand of culture.aslivingbeings.and world. 39) can be achieved. Knowledge focusedaround acterized participatory. Critical Problems in Freire's Theory of Liberation Education Fromthe outsetand continuingtoday.Critical and pacities knowledge embodied folds the knowerand the knownin a dialectical unity It throughthe creative powersof existence.Freire argued knowledge that was not a stateof mind nor a type of warranted proposition could be settledin the mannerof a mathematical equation. and to "Themorethe peoplebecomethemselves. ity. centralto revsituationsand identityand thusalsoas necessarily socialchange. 84-85. selves to engage in the strugglein quest of and in defense of by equalityof opportunity. This (Freire. Freire Faundez. to know. and to dreaminto existencea worldwhereeverypersonhas this opportunityand responsibility.His analysis placed as andlinguisticpractices centralto mation. of As people take hold of the indeterminateness historyand of the opennessof the future. goingreinvention recreation democratic for This overview Freire's structure his theory of argumentative of liberationand educationidentified the foundationalinterrelationshipsamong his ontological. action is Critical consciousness mindfulof the relationships amongconsciousness. guistic This cultural actionforliberation reveals andtheirown identities. 100-105). to feel.but alsoin regard theirformingculture.1994b.Deliberative to nicativeactionareintegrated achievethe authentic.Sincesituationsareperolutionary(or any other) meatedwith definingaxesof powerand authoritythat establish than others. is not somethingthat the or of nor is strictly possession achievement an individual.history. Dialogue enablesthe to a oppressed "speak trueword"and overcometheir"silencing" or (Freire.and it must seek to createsituationsin which they can more deeply expresstheir own hopes and intentions. the betterthe democracy" (Horton & Freire. to reconstruct situation(includingthe self)and to evaluated the The critical consequences. the politicsof liberationharnesses onfoundationsof existenceto overtologicaland epistemological socialism and build a democratic come the limits of oppression outfit ourthat sustainsdiversecommunities.uniquely mustread entails. be liberatory. from both revolutionary and political In and activists academics. pp. dialoguethatdistinguishes knowledge andcultural actionforfreedomis not somekindof conversation."[W]e.1994b.as existent. Freirearguedthat educationas a practice and politicalanalyses.pp.and wielding"truthas an ethicalqualityof the struggle" the (Freire.tests moreemphaticand makesthe pragmatic of criticalanalysis of knowing more telling. 47-48). by open communication linkedto intentionalactionseeking criticalinquiryand analysis. Striving needs. ForFreire.we differentfromone another" areradically (Freire. p.1994b.knowledge creation.epistemological.1970.The oppressed humanexistence liberation that in that reveals and knowthe worldand themselves a critical way in the processes historical of formation orderto writetheirfuture. 97). of freedomis actuallya necessary aspectof being fully human. way of life of the knowers.but the ratherit was a wayofbeingthat reflected deepesthumancaenforproducing culture history. logical.and graspsthe whyof the world in that of theconstructive nature knowing. the veryfactthat. the usedto capture complex is Conscientizationthe termFreire features edof and ethical-political ontological.1994b. p.Freire warned against privileging or and whichwouldleadto a kindof"basism" "elitism" wouldobstructtheirunity as required liberatory in action (Freire.ethical. speakfor themselves. humanbeingsceaseto be the "makersof theirway"and they becomesimplywhathistorymakesof them. action. p.1994b. Without this kind of praxis. 8).subjectin turn to furtherquestioning. coherent structure" the to neededto warrant knowledge guide Faundez.These contrasting commentaries camefrom the Left as well as the Right. p. Further and positions. Through focused questioning and (Freire& analysis.understanding. 145).1992. becomesfoundedon dialoguechartion of dialogue.theirhopesanddreams a morejust need" life become realizedas the fulfillmentof an "ontological human to meet these primordial (Freire. libertarone of ian reviewer dismissedit as a "truly book"and claimedthat bad MARCH 2001|11 . couplinghis ontological epistemological Freire thatthe conditionsthatpromotefreedomalsoproargued duce the human capacityfor criticalknowledge.He translated these conditionsinto communicative and linguisticmetaphors that prescribed certainmethodsfor the educational dimensions is Centralto thesemetaphors his noof his theoryof liberation. be humanmeansto makeand remake to one's self throughmakinghistoryand culture.knowand commuing. 50).1992. can it be testedoutsidethe contextof actionsituatedwithin specific cultural historical and horizons(seeFreire. & pp. of for the profoundimportance language a people'sbeing. it is a socialpraxis. Freire's did epistemology not denythe scientificformof truth or the strengthof its logic for understanding changingrealand but at the sametime it did not givesciencethe lastword. this sectionof this essayI reactionary will outline some of the criticalproblemsin the foundationsof Freire's view.1990. must respectthe everyday To it and language.8).to struggleagainstthe limiting conditions that prevent such creativeaction. knowledgeof experience(the arguedthat neitherthe everyday of commonsenseof the masses) the systematic nor knowledge science (the trainedsense of intellectuals) of providesa guarantee eitherformof knowledge. arguments On the publicationof Pedagogy the Oppressed.the "rigorous. p. thatenacts ongoingculof that turalactionfor liberation acceptsan ethicof the "fineness the striving" "ajob to do in history" as 1994b.p.
of of thetask thisrevolutionary of is critical conpedagogy notto foster in sciousness order improve to the student's cognitive learning. 11-12) pedagogy (pp.this amountsto a kind of domesticationof Freire's overalltheoryand intent. Shor. the 1973.these problemswill be outlined EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER 2011 from a philosophicpoint of view.history.In light of these problematics.forexpractice ample. 1971. In addition. This possibilitywas at the core of Nietzsche'sarguments about the Super Man as unsurpassed creatorof history and culture (Nietzsche.For example.becauseof the structure his arguments. profoundly inadequate a revolutionary theory.Foucault. assertion an ontologicalprivilegefor huof p. contradictory the position fundamentalist. evento assist hisaspiration fulfill human It of as "potential". Freire'sanalyticframeworkthat createdan opposition betweenbanking dialogical and formsof education widelyintergot that could transform classroom pretedas a "method" practices. praxis at its core.the loss of certainty the emancipatoryguaranteesFreire hoped for from actions .. However. Weiler. or in to his self-esteem. circles.in it wasseriously deficient recognizing strengths traditional the of as education. the Moreover. Freireequivocatedas the force of this logic pushed againsthis in generalargumentas summarized the previoussection of this is essay. Giroux& McLaren. 1973.foundmoremeritin buildingon the insights that Freireoffered (see Grabowski. despiteits embracein educational theoryappeared at the moment when a profoundrupture just with its underlyinghumanistand Marxistassumptions moved fromthe periphery the coreof intellectual to debatesin the academy and within oppositionalpolitical formations. Weiler. Freire's izationis an ontological vocationandcalling to be questioned. Luke & Gore.this accountfounders. the remainder of this sectionof this essay.1971) thatundermine argumentativestructure Freire's of philosophyof praxis.and theirdesire to maketheirpractice moreconsistentwith theirmoraland politicalidealsled them to try to applythe theoryevenwithin institutionsstructurally to resistant a liberatory (see. this leadsto a connectedgroupof onthat requiresubstantologicaland epistemological quandaries tially differentresponsesthan Freireprovides. 99).1990).Freire's Ironically. Habermas.1994. But Freire's manizationas the only possibilityfor an authenticexistencereducesto just the sort of apriorihistorical claimhe recognizes as and to conservative. moralitywas for the weak. circumscribedby their embodiment in specific situationsand backgroundsof culture.As we will see. though feminists raisedseriousquestionsabout the compatibilityof this linkage 1989. Fromthe point of view of the logic of ontologyand historicstill ity.Ontologically..1973). thoseworkingin the field particularly of adulteducation. 1983. Logic entailsthatall humanactionmust be consistent with ontological features existence. If humanexistence throughwith uncertainty (Margonis. position 1988..Geertz. Freire'stheory appearsto be insufficiently eventhoughhe placesa historical cultural and historicized.the logic of Freire's ontological his humanist conclusions.In addition. humanbeingsarepurelypossibility.he noted that humanization "something in constituted history" not "apriori history" in and 1994b. and preliminary arguments will be suggestedto preserve some measureof Freire's theoreticalapparatus aimsevenif someof his specificarguments and fail. 1971). 1980. This explicitly emergingtraditionof criticalpedagogyinvestigatedthe practices and curricula schoolsfor theirrelationship dominant of to for 1979. Whilea soundargument conclude can that historicity to (the humancapacity producecultureand history even as cultureand historyproducehuman existence)is a of further claimthathumandefiningfeature humanlife.1986. 1982) and for theirpossibilities opideologies(Apple. and the assertionof democratic values(Giroux. and meaning.Livingston.forexample.Otherearlyreviewers.While this nihilisticpill is a bitterone.S.Questions werebeingdirectedat the foundationsof philosophyand of the humansciences(see. 1994. of these problemsimpact Freire's ethicaland politicalpositionssincehe supports them by ontologicalappealsto human natureand by epistemicclaims In aboutsituations(includingself-understandings).1972. Freire of thushasto acceptthathis critique domination emanates froma specifichistorical cultural and locationand mustbe made on the basisof contingentethicaland politicalargumentrather than universal & ontologicalappeals(McLaren Leonard. 1991). the logic of the thoroughlyhistoricized existencethat is most consistentwith the coreof Freire's theoryis with the notion of authenticity incompatible impliedwith such conceptsas ontologicalvocationand calling.and not as good as many other sourcesfor educationalchange in North America(Friedenberg. has to Thoughit maybe metaphysically comforting supposethatonly humanization trueto ourprimordial is nature thatdehumanand izationis only a historical accident. he seeks. (Freire.the criticalpedagogytraditionbecameentwinedwith some strandsof feminist theory (hooks. is to theliberation theoppressed historical withinthe framework revolutionary of that subjects objectives Freire's is directed. 1992). of thus humanac(De)humanization concerns tions thatcan only be consistent with or in contradiction parto ticular of but conceptions how oneshouldbe not how humansare.1989). (Ellsworth.1973). While the liberal methodologicalappropriation Freire's of radicalpedagogypredominated the U.. In the samevein. In that view. personswho dominateor oppressothersarenonetheless human and expressingsome primordialaspects of existence. In some moments. betweenpersonhoodand citizenshipis not neatly relationship solvable insteadendures an existential but as dilemmato be lived 1993).If humanexistence cannotcompletelyescapefromparticular historical cultural and horizons then any claims of authenticitycannot be universal (Adorno.As Aronowitz(1993) correctly argued in his analysis this depoliticization Freire. Howeverthis sortof shrill and pedanticcriticismwas neitherthe norm nor accurateand fair. the arguments againsthavingto swallowit areethicaland political. historicism cannotreach First.Taylor. Educatorsat every levelmoldedFreire's theoryto theirown needs. 1987). cannot transcendits rootednessin particular situationsto be a universal extendsto puresubjectof history. at the sametime a in newdomainof educational research theoryemerged was and that articulated variouselementsof Freire's to view. Idealsof personhoodwill shift with time and placeand therecan be no ultimate"truecore"of what a person is thatis the end productof consciousness-raising. 1991).and appealsto a vision of humanizationor to equal opportunity would merelybe for those who lackedthe will and the capacity for exertingtheirpower.
1989).cass. Freireacknowledged dangers his univerBut of salisticnarrative abouthumanization. historicist foundations that his theory requires. but this contradicts morefundamental In & claimsabouthistoricity. riouslyunderwarranted relatedepistemicproblemsareseverefor Freire's the theory.Similarly. Freire& Faundez. 1983). then explanations oppression the continually the questionof theirvalidity.1971). but theseremainunactheory In of by knowledged Freire.1973).But the questiondethat of mandssome resolutionbecauseFreire's theorysuffersinsofaras it providesno guidancefor evaluating knowledgeclaimsabout selfandtheworld. Freire's Phillips. 1970. 1991). see also McLaren.1972. Since oppressionand freedomarefeaturesof self-knowledge andthe humanworldof meanings.1998a). The problems with the philosophic logicin Freire's ontological in are view.the sociologyof knowledge. Militant nonviolence preserves Freire's aim to achieve human freedom in a just.Freire's theory.2000). fromwhich to challengedominationor oppression are position Liberationbecomesa far more intricateand intimate suspect.andculture.whicharethemselves edgeclaimsaboutthe natural of andthe consequences (Taylor. McLaren& Leonard. theoretical eithermissingfrom matter. position lackedclarity.1994). evolutionary the natureof criteria modesof and and the function of criticaldialogueand vigorous justification. approach knowledgeformationthat pragmatic he insisted upon (Freire. Weiler. interpretation reflected hisepistemological whichdoes not resolve difficulties historicized the of When arguknowledge. simultaneous and positionsof oppression dominancecan be ocindividuals(for example. testing of claims and evidence. democratic society without abandoning the conditional.1989."Freiredid the not acknowledge depth of the problemsthus posed for the to constructivist.aimed at overcomingsituationallimits. and practice(Griinbaum. 1973) thatembed with and ideologicalcommitments. the concernfor its warrant not merelya matterof abstract is philoacsophic interest.as with a White middle-class woman). for "methodological and "rightthinking"that yields ing rigor" knowledgein a "higher stage"than "commonsense. The theorydoes not adequately are recognizethat race. Freire'sargumentthat humannatureachievesits only authenticcompletionin an onrestson a Hegelianditologicaltelos that ends in humanization alecticthat synthesizesuniversaland particular aspectsof exishis tence (Torres.1970.and insteadmaintains .if knowledgeis tied to human interests(Habermas. 1994b.Since for Freire the criticalknowledgeof oppressionwas linked to liberation strugglethat might include violent means and the taking of human life (Freire.thoughit reinforces importance recognized an ongoing criticalquestioningthat refusesto be seducedinto certainties eliminatealltraces doubt.then the knowledgewe can have of them is much more contingentand for providesmuch weakerjustification actions.Just what sorts of constraintson liberatory of tions areimposedby the ontologicalopaqueness identityand This by epistemiclimits and uncertainties? queryis left begging he for the by Freire.A thoroughly historicized of philosophy praxis must be committedto an understanding sciencethat recogof nizes the historicalnatureof method. dialoguewith his critics(McLaren in the Leonard.and philofor sophic questionsabout the warrants knowledgeclaims (see 1992). This demandfor continuouscritiqueextendsto the identity of the oppressed.and requires approaches Freire's or needingsubstantive perspective development.In addition. which is distortedby Freire's universalistic bithat of naryformulations too often assumea unityof experience oppressiondespite differences(Ellsworth. and genderoppressions gearedto such that specificconcreteconditionsthat can be contradictory.and this fallsfarshortof integrating other modes of graspingreality(Harding& Hintikka.1994).1984). otherwords.1992). episbeg and temic statusboth of self-knowledge of knowledgeof the self evenfor psychoanalytic by otherspresents profounddifficulties. the predicament a and addsemmorefullyhistoricized ontologypreserves actually for phasisto the need Freirerecognized liberationeducationto that critical enablea relentlessly analysis demonstrates concretely limit how specificsituations(and self-understandings) the freeand dom of some to be self-defining determining. 1994b. Without differentiating the psychologyof knowing.1994.These broadcatecontested constantly undergoing goriesof identityarethemselves historical revision.despiteimputing a certain psychoanalyticintent for conscientization(Freire. if cultureitselfis permeated and and structured unanalyzable prereflective patby ideology of ternsof action (Geertz. the contingencyof facts and arguments.and of positedthe possibility gettingit rightjustashe positedthe pos2000). of 1971) andrelations power(Foucault. Such a nonfoundationalview avoidsahistoricuniversalistic that claims.someone privicupied by particular leged by racialand classlocation but oppressedby the gender order. epistemological He equivocated betweenaccepting radical the indeterminateness of knowledge arguingfor a natural sciencekind of certainty and in parsing raison of He the d'etre the situationof the oppressed.knowledge the selfand less is the socialworldand theircausalrelations significantly cerfor tain and hasfarless reliable mechanisms testingthanknowlnotoworld. think that a unitaryform of reasoncould adjudicate amongthe varietyof waysof knowing. Moreover. failsto accountfor the ways in which identity has no direct or necessaryrelationship eitherto external contexts to inward or and representations knowlaboutidentityare (Taylor. Sincethesecomplexities edge claimsfor an authenticsubject ubiquitousto liberation struggle. history. at a timesuncritically assumed correspondence theoryof truth. He seemedto sibilityof beingan authenticself (Roberts.
forwhom. cultural historical praxis always thatis at the heartof beinghumanis unending.1970.Freire makesanotherontologicalargument his pola that iticswhenhe suggests set of questions propelthe formation of society (Freire. this struggle.. for no ontological priority this or for democratic RESEARCHER 21| EDUCATIONAL Reconstructing Freire's Theory: Concluding Reflections The foregoingcritiqueof Freire's theoryfocusedon the philoits ontologicaland epistemologisophic arguments comprising Problems wereidentifiedin the logic of Freire's cal foundations. into self or the worldto guideliberatory action. to for thathe thenextrapolated a preference democratic Hobbes But this claim must face otherpossibleinterpretations. p. and he thus expectedjustifications that foundations theycouldnot provide.anddeferred questions the oppressed the priorquestionof the unrelenting to violence by of the oppressor (Elias. 1999). 107) as well as constructthe groundsfor tance to dehumanization of While thereareno guarantees trueinsight self-determination. this.what is certainis that the odds areagainstthosewithout the traditional meansof power. human societiesseem to offer explanations such questions. 2000). of 1992.1994. p.g. Forexample.p.1961.theseproblems undercuthis ethicaland politicalconceptions. means a critical of of themechby today.or epistemic but method(although thesedo not becomemeaningless) alsobeThis conclusion elevatesthe demandfor an comes pragmatic. Hampshire maintainedthat sufficientminimalconditionsexist for general justice.1994b.King. 47) allegedby Freire.Although human nature aloneprovidesonly verythin supportfor particular ethicaland positions.He readilyasserted that revolution aboutviolence mightentailviolentmeans. p.Hampshire (1983) argued of which waysof life areakinto the diversity natural languages. his As summarized Freire derived politicsfromanother earlier.and it is the core of freeHistoricity bequeaths dom.arguedthat humansin a stateof nature. He may be rightthat humans of and sinceall seekto know the "why" the "whither" existence.Freire opmay be well justifiedin his politicaland ethicalpreferential can tion for the poor (McLaren. Through an argumentof this type. This concludingsection of the essayfollowssome of those lines and suggests an ethical and political position.thosewho strugglefor liberationandjustice political need not settle for might makingright.Sharp.and respecting pluralcompellingconthe reason society. but therenonetheless be socialism.1994b. 1994b. or identitycannotescape any particular horizons. Yet. yesterday popular is to seek. these objectivesare Although Freiredid not acknowledge the strategy militantnonviolence of (Gandhi. nor succumbto either a Machiavellian amoralism a paralyzing or relativism postmodern (on this latter point.thatwouldneedto be central a moreadequate theory of educationas a practiceof freedom. 2000). see McLaren& Farahmandpur.Freire.However. for example.against culture and society are organized. as one of the tasks a progressive of education.in this casea comof basedon humandifferences. the conditions that and Freireadducedthat favorthe possibilityof self-realization of can the creation culture history and self-determination through be looselylinkedto an ontologicalorigin.and a contextof competingvalidconceptionsof the good.analysisof reality.and no guarancan tees that the desiredtransformations be achieved. worthwhiledirections the line of Freire's reasoningestablished conclusions education set up certain and fora theoryof liberation capableof being supportedand developedby otherarguments.whichwas resolved only by the emergence a domiagainst a nantforceableto subduecompetitors extract commitment and for to fealty.embracing uncertainties varieties in knowledge.Yet wouldbe endemicto humanexistence as to evenacceptingdiversity fundamental humannature. 172). strength weakness.Thus. werepromptedto a war of all of all. 2000). notedthatthe "ethical politicalawareness the fightFreire and of ers is of paramountimportance" the successof liberation for evenwhentheyaremilitary ones (Freire. militant nonto violence. Culture is a contested domain that providesno escape and to fromthe challenge identifyits "negativities" "positivities" of in orderto constructbulwarks resis(Freire. onlyin tacticaland not strategic terms. p. claimsbecomesnot solelya matterof logic. exactly abhorred violence(see 1963.McLaren. (1968). with a fullyhistoricized ethicsandpoliticsconsistent philosophy of praxisin orderto providegroundsfor adequate justification for liberatory action. everyvoice must be included)and bringmoraland political judgmentsthemselvesonto the terrainof historicallyconof testedactionrightalongwith understandings the self and the world. theory.thoughmuch moreis needed to warrantspecificethical or politicalpositions.against what. the aim is to retainthe liberatory powerof the critiqueof and while recognizing malleability contrathe dehumanization of and the dictionsof identity. he because did not go farenoughin reframhistoricist approach elementsthatremained and someof the universalist ahistoric ing from those in his position. further process which weakof nessof theoppressed intoa strength turns capable converting theoppressor's into 1994b. The atagreementto a thin conception of procedural of notion of dialogue tributes this conceptionareakinto Freire's (e. understanding in anisms social of to the the conflict. 125) (Freire.Thoughhe personally Freire seemedto regard nonviolence McLaren. Freire's differentargumentation. nonfoundational perspecthatpossiblemoral tive.This is not quite blindspotsandhistorical perspectival the "unitaryunderstanding the world"(Friere& Faundez. ceptionsof the good that can shapea just. limited. democratic the and As Freire maintained. struggles Freire failedto seethepossibility the thethat Nonetheless. positionsimplyrequires Therearepossibledirections such an argument could go that would be consistent with a historicist.We cannottranscendour existenceas "unconcluded.1973). mitmentto equality opportunity socialism. 100).1994b.in the full gloryof theirdifferences.althoughthe test of truth is not The test or the warrant ontologicalor for farfromhis proposals.In addition. claimedontologicaltelos for human nature. p. 98). for But no suchanthropological evidence(let aloneapriori ontological reasoning) extendsto his furtherclaimthat they seekto anwhom"the swer"infavor ofwhat.conditioned.self. meansthat competingsound and validconceptionsof the good evenin an idealworld. clearly ory and strategyof militantnonviolenceoffereda way to con- .historicalbeings"and this limit actuallyprovidesthe "opportunity of setting ourselvesfree"insofaras we join the "politicalstrugof gle for transformation the world" (Freire.As noted in the introduction.
(1991) had its fifth printing in 1996. Leonard(Eds. Elias(1994) discussedthe religiouslanguageand symbolismthat Freirefrequently to employedin referring this processas an Easter. p. The legacy of Freire's theory. It provides a political strategy that makes more credible the demand for a permanent struggle for liberation since it preserves to all equally the power to seek self-determined hopes and dreams. and ontological uncertainty of a radical sort. PauloFreire's P. and errors 1 Wink (2000).struct an integrated historicist theory of liberation education that combined consistent ontological.Convergence. especially in the case of death on the scale of war. and Boston:Routledgeand Apple. L.). and together generate constraints that substantially weaken the justifications for violence. The critiques and questions that challenge Freire'sarticulation of a philosophy of praxis cannot diminish the impact Freire's work will continue to have. & Mayo. Coben (1998) see and Mayo (1999). PauloFreire: criticalencounter A (pp. Education andpower. Institutefor EducationandAction. For extendeddiscussions the of theoretical connectionsbetweenFreireand Gramsci. and shifting boundaries.theselinkshavebeencentral manyethical political as they arein a wide varietyof religiousdoctrines. Ghetto schooling: politicaleconomy urbaneducaof tionalreform.. 3 The author andPhoenix(AZ)Union High SchoolDistrict. 8 Freire followsGramsci(1971) in this analysis(see especially Freire & Faundez.1998a). (1991). and is also capable of combating armed force. (1982). MARCH 1123 2001 . dition. p..and Derman-Sparks's (1989) is in its 11th printing. probrestssolelywith me.Subsequent draftsbenespecial fromthe commentsandcriticisms PiaWong. The reconstruction of Freire's theory suggested here is consistent with the dialogical practices that he argued were central to education as a practice of freedom. and fromMeng Tzu and ChuangTzu forward the Chinesetrato and theories. Thejargon ofauthenticity. Ontological groundlessness and epistemic uncertainty reside within cultural horizons embracing a diversityof moral and political goods.Bowers(1983) raised that invatiqueof Freire's assumptions.C.1973. Burke.half of whom qualifyfor freeor reduced-price lunchesandan equalnumberof whom havehomelanotherthan English. and for reviewers editors.. W.B. 1996). and so education as a practice of freedom will remain pivotal for the real- ization of whatever ideal of the person or of society one imagines. 5 FromPlatoandAristotle in tradiforward the Westernphilosophic in tion. 1998. arein second editions.In Aronowitz. democratic society without abandoning the conditional. guages 4 Freire thatErichFrommwas"deadright"to (1994b. just 6 Freire's has effortto distance humansfromotheranimals beenchaland of modesof thoughtthat lengedasspecies-ist reflective the European his in theseconcerns a trenchant cripervade view.000 students.. Press. A Anyon. As science has long demonstrated. variegated efforts to translate it into every conceivable context. C. Paul. epistemological. 1986. radicaldemocratic humanism. (1973). Boston: Routledgeand KeganPaul. It gives shape and transformative force to struggles within intensively contested contexts without reinscribing violence or reinstantiating discourses and relations of domination. 7 Freirenonetheless that individuals from the oppressor recognized classcould commita kind of classsuicideto be rebornand in solidarity with the oppressed (see. imperfect theories do not render action impossible.Advocates of just wars (the sort we can assume liberation strugglesto be) face moral hurdles that are exceptionally difficult to surmount in both the decision to wage war and in its conduct (Teichman. Cultural action for liberation wedded to militant nonviolence furnishes an ethical and political framework consistent with a historicized and always partially opaque ontology and a historicized. and political positions. moral.J. Haddad. Yet. Walzer. New York:Teachers CollegePress. Militant nonviolence preservesFreire'saim to achieve human freedom in a just. Freire indeed captured some of the most telling qualities of what it is to be human. defending territory. lems. 1975.with 12 schoolsand more than 22. (1993). the current outcry about the prevalence of errorsin death penalty cases reflectsthe moral revulsion experienced by people acrossthe political spectrum when those tests are not satisfied. 2 Educatingfor by Change Arnoldet al. NOTES deathfor a This paperwasinitiallydraftedimmediately afterFreire's collectionthat nevercame to fruition. M. University Allman. 1977). (1998). Similarly. D. multiple.. then ways to fight for one way of life ratherthan another must be found that honor epistemic. 8-24). is first and foremost to be found as a lived praxis of liberation in the global. For the contributions of his theory and his life toward the creation of more justice and democracy.arecurrently developingsuch a project.1992. Freire's insights will endure. 55) reports use this phraseto describe Freire's educational practice. C. Kegan Apple.. and Schneidewind and Davidson(1998). ethical.S.. Toronto:Betweenthe Linesand the DorisMarshall catingfor change. Frank of fitedenormously Researcher Eduardo Duarte. W.T. (Eds. The certitude of death demands that those who take life possess a level of certitude about the situation and the self that is perhaps beyond reach. and with the importance he placed on ideological struggle as a leading element in overcoming oppression (Coben. for example. perspectival epistemology (Glass. & Thomas. McLaren& P.andthe Educational anonymous Margonis. Hang. (1997). M.R.P. historicist foundations that his theory requires. This is a method of radical action unconstrained by meanings and knowledge claims that are historically situated and culturally constructed. just as its origins. Arnold.P.Responsibility allremaining obscurities. and facing up to the real politics of an armed and aggressive world (Boserup & Mack.EduB. even for seemingly just causes. Cavanagh. a world will continue to mourn the death of Paulo Freire. [Special 31(1/2). Ethical theory and the tradition of common law alike recognize that very stringent tests must be met to warrantkilling. Martin. and that is suited to a polyvocal discourse giving expression to identities marked by contradictory. 18). and Friere. even in self-defense. issuedevotedto PauloFreire]. if Freireis right that the struggle for freedom is the fate of human existence. James. Ideology curriculum. (1979). London:Routledge. REFERENCES Evanston: Northwestern Adorno. 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