Humanistic Education: Philosophical crossroads

Abstract

The educational philosophies of John Dewey, Paulo Freire and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi were born at different times and in different cultures but the themes they propound resonate with the ordinary people. Although there are ideas that are unique to each philosophy, this paper tries to uncover the themes that are similar in them. The purpose to uncovering these themes is to try in some way to form a unifying force that opens a path to making the ideas rather than the person resonate among people. The three philosophers were not interested in recognition but rather sought the welfare of their fellow human beings as their purpose. As such, their hope was that their ideas would be turned to action by people rather than adoration of their philosophies. Increasingly, educators are seeking ways to harmonize their ideas and ideals with other educators in order to build a strong counterbalance to the historically prevalent divisive and prejudicial societal structures that inhibit human development. Paolo Freire points out that such a counterbalance would ultimately benefit the oppressed and the oppressor. In order to accomplish this, educators will need to put aside small philosophical differences and focus on the more meaningful themes that unite them. The interconnectedness of humanity and nature is becoming increasingly apparent in all realms of human activity. Future research and educational work must begin to turn away from its divisive nature and look for themes of harmony within and between disciplines. Instead of looking for ways to reject each other we need to research ways of uniting each other, not only for our own sake but for the sake are future generations.

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Geoffrey Westropp
Chapman University

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