Freire, Wittgenstein and Criticality Scholarship

Deegan, Marc and McArthur, Jan (2023) Freire, Wittgenstein and Criticality Scholarship. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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We are concerned with the educational concept of criticality. What do we mean by criticality? How do we use it? Criticality links education with social, political, cultural and economic existence. Yet for the connection to be significant, meaningful, we must be able to say what we mean by a critical citizenry. We explore English educational policy underscoring the notion of criticality and offer a snapshot of some international models. We examine relevant considerations arising in the philosophy of education research literature. Criticality is an emerging and fluid concept and is informed by critical theory, critical pedagogy, critical thinking scholarship and the informal logic movement. We coin a new public space ‘criticality scholarship’ in which we develop our ideas. We address a number of important questions: What is critical thinking? What is the function, the relevance, of criticality in education and in the broader society? What is the connection between skills, propensities and character traits that pertain to criticality? Who is and who is not a critical being? How should we deal with field dependency and the problem of transfer? What pedagogical strategies support the teaching of criticality? How do human beings think? Why does the rationalistic thematic and the Cartesian method assume such a privileged position? What other forms of knowledge and canons of rigour and validity are relevant to a critical education? We delve into the works of Paulo Freire and Ludwig Wittgenstein and add to our evolving conception of criticality. We examine points of commonality and of difference in respect of their lived experiences as pedagogues. We consider Freire’s idea of conscientização and Wittgenstein’s stance on encouraging his students and readers to think for themselves and of the ways in which each of these relate to the critical being developing his or her own criticality. Within the new philosophical framework of criticality scholarship, we connect criticality with the promotion of democracy and social justice. We support this with Freire’s notion of the critical being naming the world and the word and juxtapose Wittgenstein’s aphorism that philosophy ‘leaves everything as it is’. We make a case for aligning Wittgenstein’s later philosophy with Karl Marx’s eleventh thesis on Feuerbach. Also we draw on Freirean aesthetic curiosity and Wittgenstein’s deep respect for the mystical and, with it, questions touching upon aesthetics, questions of value, God and the meaning of life to envision new horizons, complimentary vistas, that criticality scholarship offers. Reflection on theory and practice as it informs educational policy leads to some key findings and recommendations for policymakers to consider in relation to criticality. We sketch out how our conception of criticality can continue to gain purchase in the new domain of criticality scholarship. We erect signposts indicating possible paths that might be taken towards imagining and bringing about a more humane and just world.

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Thesis (PhD)
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?? criticality, criticality scholarship, critical being, educational policy, educational philosophy, educational practice, democracy, social justice, paulo freire, ludwig wittgensteinyes - externally fundedgeneral arts and humanities ??
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08 Aug 2023 08:55
Last Modified:
25 Jul 2024 00:27