Conscientization and the Cultivation of Conscience [book]

Keqi (David) Liu
2015 unpublished
This philosophical study is set within Paulo Freire's radical, critical and liberating pedagogical theoretical discourse. If conscientization is defined by Freire as the cultivation of critical consciousness and conscience, it not only provides a stimulus for better understanding of the root causes of human suffering and dehumanization or the loss of humanity but also brings full effect to humanization, an effective approach to address dehumanization problems. While the cultivation of critical
more » ... vation of critical consciousness tackles social system and ideological crises, the cultivation of conscience addresses human consciousness problems such as insatiable human desire represented in varying forms of egoism, ambition, lust, greed, and craving for social status. Thereby, as an educational initiative, conscientization can readily and sustainably maintain both self and social empowerment when it is deeply rooted in the praxis of changing the world. The study attempts to achieve three major tasks. The first is to clarify what conscience is and what notion of conscience has internal coherence with the process of conscientization. The second is to determine how to cultivate conscience. The third is to incorporate the cultivation of conscience into conscientization. Like Freire, I draw on a number of different philosophical traditions and perspectives. Where necessary in order to illustrate particular theoretical points, consideration is also given to a number of literary works. The notion of conscience is explored by tracing its historical development. The dialectical relation between consciousness and conscience − in particular, what causes their conflict − is also examined. The investigation of conscience concludes with identifying conscience as a unifying agent in its dialectical relationship with consciousness. ii The investigation of the dynamism of conscience starts with the confirmation of conscience as the basis of morality. Thereafter, the discussion focuses on why conscience works in a moral sphere, which necessitates a transcendence of blind human biological desire and utilitarian concern for the self. The rationalist tradition of transcendence has undermined, segmented and alienated human life. The transcendent functions of love and dialogue, two ontological ways of human existence, offer an alternative and are justified as the effective mechanisms for cultivating conscience. However, love and dialogue cannot resist armed injustice and inequality. This calls for the integration of the cultivation of conscience into conscientization. In so doing, the interrelatedness and interdependence between the cultivation of critical consciousness and the cultivation of conscience are examined while their distinctive and irreplaceable roles and functions are further specified. In terms of application, the educational and cultural significance of conscientization for the present and the future and possibilities for applying it to concrete educational discourses are explored. iii Acknowledgements I wish to express my gratitude to my supervisors Peter Roberts, Baljit Kaur and Helen Hayward for their genuine care and enlightening guidance. I consider myself fortunate to have had supervisors of such quality and kindness. I feel grateful to Peter. I have experienced a personal transformation from his constant intellectual mentoring. His research approach of combining philosophy, literature and education has provided me with a lasting benefit. I am truly appreciative of all the effort Baljit has made to build me a pathway to academic studies. I feel indebted to Helen for taking me on as her student after Baljit left. When I experience low times, her generous assistance often gives me strong psychological support. Thanks must go to Derek Browne, Deb Hill and Stephanie Day. Derek's lecture, Philosophy and Human Nature, has an important influence on my understanding of ethics. Deb has shown a real interest in my study. She has given me her expertise not only in Foucault but also in presenting style. Stephanie has taught me the academic writing standards and norms required by top international journals and how to write concisely so that meaning and logic can flow naturally. I will forever feel thankful for my colleagues and friends, such as
doi:10.3726/978-1-4539-1257-7 fatcat:hlf7mbemcveexf4xcu55lbyv6e