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Conscientization and the Cultivation of Conscience


Keqi (David) Liu

Conscientization and the Cultivation of Conscience constitutes a major contribution to the international literature on the work of Paulo Freire, one of the most influential educationalists of all time. It provides a fresh perspective on the Freirean notion of conscientization, rethinking this pivotal concept in the light of the history of ideas on conscience. The author offers a holistic, philosophical reading of Freire’s texts and argues for the cultivation of conscience through love and dialogue. Such a reading, he suggests, allows us to better respond to the moral crises that face us in the age of global capitalism. The ideas advanced in this book have important implications for philosophical and cultural understanding and for educational theory and practice.
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Chapter Four: The Dynamism of the Work of Conscience



In this chapter, two justifications are made. One is whether conscience still functions as the basis of morality to maintain humanity and why. The other is why conscience as moral intervention is prompted by transcendence to work constantly and freely. The former reconsiders the raison d’être for the cultivation of conscience while the latter clears the way for the cultivation of conscience.

As discussed in the last chapter, Kant claims conscience as the foundation of morality. However, as Nietzsche contends, “herd conscience” and “herd morality” espoused by Christianity and metaphysics stop people from being strong and shift their attention from the real concrete world to an invisible, intangible, and imaginary world. They are a means of self-negation to level off everyone to averageness and to weakness. In addition to Nietzsche, Kant’s conception of conscience has encountered strong objections from other philosophers such as Marx and Schopenhauer. This requires reconsidering the concept of conscience in a secular sense to address the questions posed in the last chapter. Accordingly, the relevant views on morality of Marx and Schopenhauer are examined. ← 73 | 74 →

Marx’s Materialist Foundation of Morality

According to Safranski (1990), prior to Hegel, there is a “direct juxtaposition of the individual and the whole: God and man [sic], or man and nature, or man and Being” (p. 307). Most philosophers then tried to answer the question—“What is a human being?”—by identifying the innate qualities or attributes of women...

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