Bridging East and West - Or, a bridge too far? Paulo Freire and the Tao Te Ching (2012)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Educational Studies and Leadership
This article considers key differences and similarities between Freirean and Taoist ideals. I limit my focus to the TaoTe Ching (attributed to Lao Tzu), paying brief attention to the origins of this classic work of Chinese philosophy before concentrating on several themes of relevance to Freire’s work. An essay by James Fraser (1997), who makes three references to the Tao Te Ching in his discussion of love and history in Freire’s pedagogy, provides a helpful starting point for investigation.A summary of Fraser’s account is followed by a more detailed discussion of the meaning of ‘action’ and ‘non-action’, the nature and role of knowing and knowledge, and the relations between ignorance, happiness and education for Freire and Lao Tzu. I conclude that while the differences between these two systems of thought are significant and must be acknowledged, reflection upon these differences has the potential to be educationally productive.
CitationRoberts, P. (2012) Bridging East and West - Or, a bridge too far? Paulo Freire and the Tao Te Ching. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(9), pp. 942-958.
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KeywordsEast; West; Freire; Taoism; Tao Te Ching; action; knowledge; ethics
ANZSRC Fields of Research39 - Education::3902 - Education policy, sociology and philosophy::390202 - History and philosophy of education
13 - Education::1302 - Curriculum and Pedagogy::130299 - Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
50 - Philosophy and religious studies::5003 - Philosophy::500318 - Philosophy of specific cultures (incl. comparative philosophy)
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