Deep Thinking or Resistance? On Finding a Middle Ground between Paolo Freire’s Critical Pedagogy and John Dewey’s Pragmatism

Abstract

Today’s educational system is in a quandary. On the one hand, colleges produce deep thinkers who possess skills necessary to adapt to an ever-changing world, but are less committed to the cause of resisting inequalities. On the other, there are students who have the passion for social reform, but are less concerned with higher order thinking skills. This investigation proposes a compromise by connecting the problem-posing method of Paolo Freire and the philosophy of education of John Dewey. This study uses the neo-pragmatic approach of Richard Rorty to open a space that seeks to overturn elitist school systems. It is argued that there is no necessary tension since critical pedagogy and liberal education are actually against institutional oppression and the authoritarian ways of elitist or dominant educational paradigms that emphasize the instrumental rather than the humanist purpose of learning. The right approach can be found in the belief that each person has a transcendental value. The freedom of every man makes manifest the vital role of liberal education in emancipating society from unjust and unequal systems through inclusivity and pluralism.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Sandra Rosenthal, “On Passing Dewey by.” In In Dewey’s Wake, edited by William Gavin. (New York: SUNY Press, 2003), 171.

  2. 2.

    Raymond Boisvert, “As Dewey was Hegelian, so we should be Deweyan.” In In Dewey’s Wake, edited by William Gavin. (New York: SUNY Press, 2003), 92.

  3. 3.

    Ramazon Gungor, “Re-imagining Paolo Freire through Rortian Neo-Pragmatism.” In Adult Education Research Conference, (Kansas: New Prairie Press, 2012), 138.

  4. 4.

    Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (New York: Continuum, 1993), 45.

  5. 5.

    Ibid, 72.

  6. 6.

    Ibid.

  7. 7.

    Ibid.

  8. 8.

    Ibid, 73.

  9. 9.

    Salama Saleh, “Paolo Freire’s Philosophy of Contemporary Education.” In University Bulletin 1:15 (2013): 92.

  10. 10.

    Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 74.

  11. 11.

    Ibid, 77.

  12. 12.

    Saleh, “Paolo Freire’s Philosophy of Contemporary Education,” 93–94.

  13. 13.

    Ibid.

  14. 14.

    Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 77.

  15. 15.

    Ibid.

  16. 16.

    Ibid, 76.

  17. 17.

    Ibid., 83

  18. 18.

    Ibid.

  19. 19.

    Ibid.

  20. 20.

    Ibid.

  21. 21.

    Matthew Festenstein, “Dewey’s Political Philosophy.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2019). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dewey-political/

  22. 22.

    Rosenthal, “On Passing Dewey by,” 168.

  23. 23.

    John Dewey, Democracy and Education. (New York, The Free Press, 1944), 97.

  24. 24.

    Rosenthal, “On Passing Dewey by,” 163.

  25. 25.

    Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press), 157.

  26. 26.

    Ibid.

  27. 27.

    Ibid.

  28. 28.

    Ibid, 264.

  29. 29.

    Richard Rorty, “Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality.” In On Human Rights, edited by Stephen Shute and Susan Hurley, (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 133.

  30. 30.

    Gungor, “Re-imagining Paolo Freire through Rortian Neo-Pragmatism, 138.

  31. 31.

    Rorty, “Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality, 134.

  32. 32.

    Rosenthal, “On Passing Dewey by,” 163.

  33. 33.

    Radim Sip, “Dewey and Rorty’s Thoughts in Education.” In Pragmatism Today (2010): 2.

  34. 34.

    Rosenthal, “On Passing Dewey by,” 162.

  35. 35.

    Gungor, “Re-imagining Paolo Freire through Rortian Neo-Pragmatism,” 134.

  36. 36.

    Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 157.

  37. 37.

    Phillip Devine, The New Fuzziness: Richard Rorty on Education. (New England: Providence College Publication, 1995), 9.

  38. 38.

    Renato Constantino, “The Miseducation of the Filipino.” In The Filipinos in the Philippines and Other Essays. (Manila: Malaya Books, 1966), 59.

  39. 39.

    Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat, (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005), 80.

  40. 40.

    Arthur Carson, The Story of Philippine Education. (Manila: New Day Publisher, 1978), 103.

  41. 41.

    Arthur Abulencia, “The Unraveling of the K-12 Program as an Education Reform in the Philippines.” In South-East Asian Journal for Youth, Sports and Health Education. Volume 1:2 (2015): 232.

  42. 42.

    Daniel Mishori, “Medical Technocracy, Extreme Bio-power, and Human Rights.” In Social Ethics Society Journal of Applied Philosophy. Volume 6, Number 2 (2020): 230.

  43. 43.

    Kenichi Namai, “New Liberal Arts Education in Japan.” In ASEAN Journal of General Studies 20 (2019): 10.

  44. 44.

    Friedman, The World is Flat, 126.

  45. 45.

    Gungor, “Re-imagining Paolo Freire through Rortian Neo-Pragmatism,” 134.

  46. 46.

    Winston Thompson, “Liberalism in Education.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education (2017), 4.

  47. 47.

    Ibid, 6.

  48. 48.

    Devine, The New Fuzziness: Richard Rorty on Education, 26.

  49. 49.

    Robert Young, A Critical Theory of Education: Habermas and the Future of Our Children. (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989), 60.

  50. 50.

    Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), 5.

  51. 51.

    Ibid, 13.

  52. 52.

    Ibid.

  53. 53.

    Thompson, “Liberalism in Education,” 3.

  54. 54.

    Ibid, 5.

  55. 55.

    Ibid, 3.

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Maboloc, C.R. Deep Thinking or Resistance? On Finding a Middle Ground between Paolo Freire’s Critical Pedagogy and John Dewey’s Pragmatism. Philosophia (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-020-00292-5

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Keywords

  • Liberal education
  • Emancipatory education
  • Transcendence
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Pragmatism