Philosophy 240 - 12.4.4 Paulo Freire’s Critical Pedagogy

Inspired by Frankfurt School thinkers, Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire (1921–1997) made key contributions to a school of thought known as the critical pedagogy movement. Freire asserted that the education provided to people living in the postcolonized world wasn’t adequate for emancipation. Freire argued that the type of education needed would move toward a deconstruction of the means by which knowledge production is structured and disseminated in a colonial society. Similar to Habermas’s communicative action, Freire affirmed that authentic communication must occur between teacher and student for true education to take place. True education involves asking “why” questions of the most foundational aspects of the society. This challenging of assumptions prompts the student to consider whether the foundational aspects of a society are actually beneficial or are simply accepted as normal and natural since things have “always” been this way. For Freire, you are only authentically human when you live a life that practices free critical reflection, which leads to emancipation (Freire [2000] 2012). In other words, emancipated humans not only think for themselves but also question the very ways in which society says we should think.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax