Educate for dissent

Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze), [untitled], 1988


Considerations on Jacques Rancière's pedagogical analyzes

In the eighties, when he was writing The Night of the Proletarians, Jacques Rancière discovered the figure of Joseph Jacotot, a teacher from the time of the French Revolution, who led him to reflect on the paths of emancipation. That time was a golden period for the socialists, as they had won the elections in France. The first concern of these socialists, when they came to power, was about the direction that the public school should take. What became important in the political debates of that time was the possibility of an emancipated education for the less favored.

From these debates emerged two trends in relation to teaching. On the one hand, progressive sociologism, inspired by Pierre Bourdieu, defended methods and forms of learning that adapted knowledge to children from less favored classes. On the other hand, republicans believed that knowledge should be applied in an undifferentiated way and that the leveling of children would come naturally. What these two conceptions had in common was the belief that knowledge would lead to equality. Equality was a goal to be achieved. Against the grain of this debate, Jacotot emerged for Rancière as a dissonant voice in the face of these two models. For the Enlightenment pedagogue, equality was a presupposition, the starting point for emancipation.

Jacotot lived in France in the XNUMXth century, he became known for having created the method of intellectual emancipation. He was a student at the University of Dijon, where he studied law and mathematics, later becoming a professor at the same institution. He was exiled to the Netherlands because of the restoration of the Monarchy, where he went to work at the University of Louvain. It was at this same university that he had a revolutionary experience. He was forced to teach French to a class of Dutch-speaking students. He couldn't speak Dutch, and the students couldn't speak French. With that, he suggested to the students, with the help of a translator, that they read the book Telemachus in a bilingual version. To his surprise, the students were able to learn French on their own and discuss the book with the teacher. It was from this unusual experience that he developed his method of intellectual emancipation.

Jacotot's great discovery was that anyone can learn by themselves, and that the teacher can teach even if he doesn't know a certain subject. From that, he created a method based on four principles: the first, states that all men have equal intelligence; the second, that each man has received from God the faculty of learning for himself; the third, that we can teach what we do not know; the fourth, everything is in everything. In Jacotot's assessment, knowledge is not a gift that only a privileged few are entitled to, everyone can acquire it through their will, it is democratic. The desire to learn is your requirement. Therefore, he named his method universal education. According to Rancière, “this method of equality was, above all, a method of the will. One could learn alone, and without a master tutor, when one wanted, by the tension of one's own desire or by the contingencies of the situation” (RANCIÈRE, 2002, p. 30).

Jacotot's ideas led Rancière to understand what was common between the two perspectives of education. Sociologists and republicans disputed what were the best means for the school to make equal those whom society had made unequal. For Jacotot, that would be taking things inside out. Equality should not be thought of as a goal that government and society must achieve. Establishing equality as a goal to be achieved based on inequality is always maintaining a distance that is reproduced indefinitely: “Whoever establishes equality as a goal to be achieved, based on a situation of inequality, in fact postpones it to infinity. Equality never comes after, as a result to be achieved. It must always be placed before […]. Instructing can, therefore, mean two absolutely opposite things: confirming a disability by the very act that intends to reduce it or, conversely, forcing a capacity that is ignored or refuses to recognize itself and to develop all the consequences of that recognition. The first act is called brutalization and the second, emancipation” (RANCIÈRE, 2002, p. 11).

The fundamental difference between Jacotot's model and the conceptions proposed by sociologists and republicans is that they start from a traditional education, where inequality is a presupposition. In traditional education, the teacher is the master explainer and the student is a tabula rasa where knowledge must be imprinted. For Jacotot, this model that considers the teacher as the central figure of learning leads to stultification and stupidity. This is because it produces in the thinking of those who learn the feeling of their own incapacity. Deep down, stultification is the hallmark of the method that makes someone speak to conclude that what he says is inconsistent and that he would never have known it, if someone had not shown him the way to demonstrate to himself his own insignificance (RANCIÈRE, 2003 ). In opposition to this, Jacotot proposes his method of intellectual emancipation. It assumes that all students are equal. Equality is not a goal to be achieved, but it is the means to learn. Everyone has cultural and intellectual baggage before formal education takes place. It is from this knowledge that the master must start. He should only be a learning mediator, a facilitator. Thus, the ignorant master is not the one who ignores what the student must learn, but who ignores inequality.

Traditional teaching, based on the figure of the master tutor, is the type of education that Paulo Freire called banking education. In this form of teaching, what exists is just the passive transfer of content by the teacher, considered an omnipotent being who knows everything and the student as the one who ignores everything. The master's objective would be to deposit knowledge in the student, just as the client deposits money in the bank: “In the banking view of education, knowledge is a donation from those who think they are wise to those who think they know nothing. Donation that is based on one of the instrumental manifestations of the ideology of oppression – the absolutization of ignorance, which constitutes what we call the alienation of ignorance, according to which it is always found in the other” (FREIRE, 2005, p. 33).

The big change was that Jacotot reversed this process. The teacher is no longer an omnipotent being. It loses its function as a central part of the teaching-learning process. There is no longer a vertical relationship between teacher and student, but a horizontal relationship from intelligence to intelligence.

Joseph Jacotot's method also opposes the thesis of French sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Passeron (1975), who consider inequality as the foundation of all education. These two thinkers sought to demonstrate through empirical research in the 50's that the school reproduces the values, the imaginary, and the dominant social conditions of the cultural system. The school reproduces a dominant cultural arbitrariness as symbolic violence. Teaching establishments have always privileged those with the most cultural capital, benefiting children from the most favored social classes. This capital is characterized by a set of knowledge, skills, abilities, linguistic references and modes of behavior that only bourgeois class children possessed. Learning would be acquired naturally and spontaneously, within the family, through games, educational games, reading books, going to theaters, museums and art exhibitions. These children in school would be better qualified and would occupy, as adults, the most important positions in the social hierarchy. On the contrary, children from popular classes would fail more easily in school, since they would not have the codes required by school and, as adults, would occupy subordinate jobs in the social structure.

Jacotot's method deconstructs Bourdieu and Passeron's sociological thesis of reproduction, as there is no longer any place for inequality. Knowledge is conceived as “Universal Teaching”. Learning is for everyone, since every man is born with the same intelligence and can develop it for himself. It is no longer a question of a teacher who subjects the student to his will, the relationship of authority, power and inequality is abolished. Now the relationship is intelligence to intelligence. It is only through this method that inequalities dissolve and the student can feel confident and free to think and learn. Jacotot even affirmed that a poor and ignorant father is capable, if he has the autonomy and will, of educating his children without resorting to any tutor. And he showed the way to carry out this Universal Teaching: learn anything and relate everything else to it, according to the principle that all men have equal intelligence (RANCIÈRE, 2002).

Jacotot's method, in its own structure, proves to be critical of the symbolic violence and epistemological racism that exist in traditional teaching. The depreciation of Afro-Amerindian, Asian, African knowledge and popular culture is notorious in pedagogical practices. The learning process in traditional teaching has a political intention. It is the pedagogical practices that decide what should be taught, they are the ones that decide what is worthy or insignificant, what should be privileged or what should be ignored. Thus, there is no justification for studying classical music over hip hop; the history of Europe rather than the history of Africa; white man's literature to the detriment of black or Asian man's literature; classical painting instead of graffiti or graffiti in large urban centers. In traditional education, transmitted knowledge, teaching methods, ways of evaluating, everything would be organized to benefit the perpetuation of class interests. Jacotot's method, on the contrary, states that education is universal, that “everything is in everything”, there are no privileged contents or knowledge. For this reason, a set of contents or disciplines that must be taught in order to obtain a certain degree of knowledge are not started in advance. The important thing is the protagonism of the student, who must be able to investigate for himself. He must be able to discover, analyze, reflect, argue, debate and verify by his own inquisitive spirit.

Jacotot's model is close to the Kantian conception (1988) of enlightenment as self-determination. Enlightenment is the departure of man from his minority. Immaturity is man's inability to use his own understanding without the help of another individual. Thus, self-determination and self-awareness are the specific traits of the enlightened subject. Emancipation is the “act of an intelligence that only obeys itself” (RANCIÉRE, 2002, p. 26). Based on this assumption, Jacotot's model of intellectual emancipation is eminently zetetic, since it takes an intellectually questioning attitude. He proposes to develop proficiency in the method of reflecting and making inferences for oneself, leading to autonomy of thought. The equality of intelligences reveals the possibility for man to follow his own reason, gaining autonomy in relation to heteronomous logics. The individual becomes aware of his potential, his strength, and his intelligence to self-determine without the tutelage of others. Through his will, he acquires the courage to overcome fear, laziness, and cowardice, leaving a situation of guardianship generated by a reality that disseminates inequality as a presupposition of social relations.

Contrary to Jacotot's method of intellectual emancipation, the model of the master explainer perpetuates minority, perpetuates stultification, since "there is only stultifying when an intelligence is subordinated to another intelligence" (RANCIÉRE, 2002, p. 25). As Kant (1988) had already observed, it is laziness and cowardice that are responsible for man remaining in a state of minority. It is comfortable to have someone who thinks and solves problems for us: “It is comfortable to be smaller”. The man who possesses as natural qualities the faculty of judging and the autonomy of his will would no longer avail himself of his existential characteristic. He would deprive himself of his own natural right to freedom. It is for this reason that the model of the master explainer naturalizes inequality as a collective fiction that tries to convince individuals that some are more endowed with intelligence than others. Thus, the social order is subject to a certain normality determined by a logic of exclusion that produces a “passion for inequality”. Individuals in society bond with each other by comparison. Hence the need to think under the sign of difference and exclusion. In this regard Rancière states: “In short, the motive that makes the masses turn is the same that animates superior spirits, the same that makes society turn on itself, from generation to generation: the feeling of the inequality of intelligences – that feeling that, to distinguish superior spirits, confuses them in universal belief. Even today, what allows the thinker to despise the worker's intelligence, if not the worker's contempt for the peasant, the peasant for his wife, his wife for his neighbor's wife, and so on indefinitely? Social unreason finds its formula summed up in what could be called the paradox of superior inferiors: each one submits to the one he considers as his inferior, being subjected to the law of the mass by the very intention of distinguishing himself” (RANCIÈRE, 2002, p. 94 -95).

In opposition to this logic of inequality, the great merit of Jacotot's model is that it emancipates for equality. It allows subjects to acquire awareness of the superiority of intelligence and that everyone has it and can develop it. With this understanding, Rancière (2002) states that the emancipated provides not the key to knowledge, but the awareness of what an intelligence can do, when it considers itself equal to any other and considers any other as equal to its own. Emancipation is the awareness of this equality, of this reciprocity which, alone, allows intelligence to update itself through verification. What stultifies the people is not the lack of education, but the belief in the inferiority of their intelligence: “The equality of intelligences is not scientifically given and neither is it recognizedly imposed, nor is it something to be achieved. It presupposes the transformation of the current “normality”, where everyone, equally recognized, is able to exercise their achievements. “Normality” that, for the author, concerns a way of functioning of society that promotes the unequal recognition of men, a functioning devoid of reason. Hence the term 'passion for inequality', in which society ceases to function through rationality and becomes subject to the will of the logic of inequality” (HIDALGO, ZANATTA, FREITAS, 2015, p. 339).

The awareness that intelligences are equal and that anyone can develop it, allows the individual to reflect more and act on the world. It allows us to criticize what has been naturalized, the established order. Based on Jacotot's method, the individual would be able to make public use of his reason, since the two faculties that are at stake in the act of learning are will and intelligence. It is these two faculties that give the individual the necessary freedom to use his reason to confront reality. Through the will, the development of intelligence would take place autonomously, without the tutelage of others. The individual would gain the ability to clarify himself and act from that clarification.

Kant (1988) understands under the name of public use of reason the capacity that any man, as a wise man, makes of it before the great public of the literate world. He acquires the power of discussion, debate, argumentation. The German thinker exemplifies cases in which the citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes that fall on him or the orders of the government that he is obliged to obey, but that, as a wise man, he has complete freedom, and even the duty, to make known to the public all their ideas, which are carefully examined and thought through, about what is wrong or unjust in the laws of the State. He can also develop a proposal about what he considers best and fairest in public affairs.

The public use of reason has as its principle the exercise of freedom. Freedom is inscribed in human nature. In Kantian theory, every man despite having an empirical self, being subject to the laws of nature, also has a pure self, which is not determined by causality. Man as a rational being belongs to this world of freedom. It is based on this freedom that all men can actively participate in their society in public affairs. Every individual, having a rational nature, is not obliged to act except according to his own will. He is the only one who can legislate in his own cause, exercising his freedom through his autonomy of will. It is only through the exercise of freedom that man can fight against oppression, against inequality, in search of greater equality and social justice. In this sense, it is only through the exercise of his freedom that he can make public use of reason to transform the current reality.

The German philosopher Habermas (2000), a member of the Frankfurt School, perfected the Kantian perspective of the public use of reason by developing a new idea of ​​communicative reason. He built a concept of rationality based on coordinated intersubjective processes with the aim of reaching understanding. Communicative reason arises from spontaneous social interactions, but acquires greater rigor and importance in public issues, which refer to social integration, citizenship and politics. In this sense, in a discussion situation, the actions of the agents are not guided by their own individual success, the actors seek to reach their individual objectives respecting the condition that they can harmonize their behavior, their objectives and plans of action to a common situation. well defined. In this sense, this form of rationality establishes a consensus in which the participants overcome their initially subjective and partial conceptions in favor of a rationally motivated agreement.

Santos (2014) recognizes in the Kantian idea of ​​the public use of reason the foundations of a communicational reason, that is, of a practice of reason conceived as an honest and loyal exercise of free, equal, and responsible rational beings, who offer each other the their perspectives on the world in a dialogue, which exposes their arguments, appealing to conviction, but without being able to really dictate and decide for themselves and absolutely the truth of their views. It is in this way that the community of reason emerges and is constituted as an open space for sharing convictions, argued and discussed according to the rules of a legally founded political-legal community, in which the right to freedom and equality of citizens are recognized.

Habermasian communicative reason has affinities with Jacotot's pedagogy for intellectual emancipation and can improve it, as both seek to emancipate individuals and are based on equality, autonomy and freedom. Like communicative reason, Jacotot's method emancipates individuals to the extent that it encourages their autonomy and freedom, considering them equal and capable of reflecting, analyzing, debating and arguing without the tutelage of others. Rancière (2002) explains that, through universal education, the individual can do whatever he wants. He gains the ability to tap into his powers, as he sees himself as equal to everyone else, and judges everyone else as his equal. With this, the will is that return on itself of the rational being that knows itself as capable of acting. That is the source of your rationality, of your consciousness. It is this self-esteem as a rational being in action that feeds the movement of intelligence. The rational being is, above all, a being who knows his power, who never lies about it. From this, through his will and freedom, he becomes proficient in the act of thinking and exposing his ideas with autonomy. He becomes proficient in the act of arguing and arguing. In this sense, he acquires the ability to rise up against what is given, against what is naturalized, against the forces that subjugate him. He becomes capable of opposing a reality determined by the consensus of the strongest, of those who establish reality as the logic of exclusion and inequality.

Rancière (2014), in his works, criticizes the currently dominant discourse that identifies political rationality with consensus as a principle of democracy. It reveals that, in a world where exclusion and inequality have been naturalized, consensus determines an order of the sensible structured according to differences. Consensus has always been and continues to be the logic of the dominant. It does not in any way correspond to the idea of ​​a communicative, democratic reason, based on equality and intersubjective processes as thought by Habermas.

From there, he noted three paradoxes to demonstrate that consensus in modern democracies serves only the interests of the market and the powerful. First, the development of the productive forces, by imposing the cohesion of the social body, empties the meaning of politics as a choice between alternative solutions. Under the term consensus democracy is conceived as the pure regime of economic necessity. Second, at a time when the objective need for the development of the productive forces imposes itself as the last word in political wisdom, philosophy and the social sciences come up with the discourse of the return of the rational actor, of the individual who argues. The paradox lies in the fact that the fewer things there are to discuss, the more the ethics of discussion are celebrated as the foundation of politics.

Third, while official discourse celebrates the victory of consensual reason, everywhere we experience the old irrationality of the law of blood. As the national consensus of political parties and the advent of large national spaces is celebrated, the most archaic forms of barbarism reappear: ethnic wars, exclusion, racism and xenophobia. In the opinion of the French thinker, the great irrationality we experience today is linked to this form of political reason based on the consensus of the strongest, as it represents the forgetting of the mode of rationality proper to politics. In a world determined by the universal form of the commodity, consensus has become just an ideology.

For Rancière, there is no such thing as politics when what prevails is an order established by the powerful. The idea of ​​consensus in democratic regimes is exclusionary. For this reason, this author proposes a difference between police and politics. He calls police the legitimate system of production of consensual agreements that operate in the organization and management of powers, enabling the cohesion and consent of collectivities, the organization and management of populations, and the distribution of places and functions in this system of legitimacy. . The political sphere is opposed to this, which is processed through dissent, opposing the police order.

For Rancière, dissent is not a conflict of ideas, it is not a conflict between left and right or the opposition between the government and the people who contest it, but a conflict over the configuration of the sensible world. It is a conflict structured around who has the right to speak; of those who can be part of the order of discourse and those who are excluded from that order; who should have visibility and who are invisible; of those who own property and those who are dispossessed of any property; of those who have titles and those who do not, of the distribution of places and occupations in a common space and those who are excluded from this space.

As Pallamin (2012) assesses, politics, put in these terms, disturbs the given order and the mesh of social inequalities on which it is based. It operates through the enunciation and putting into practice of an egalitarian discourse that calls into question established subordinations and identities. While the logic of the political is guided by the equality of anyone to anyone, the social logic is structured in inequalities and hierarchies.

Although the police order is distinct from the political process, the latter can only exist and manifest itself against the established order that imposes a delimited and shared sensible universe. This shared universe Rancière (2009) defines as sharing the sensible. The sharing of the sensitive is a system of sensitive evidence that reveals, at the same time, participation in a common set and cuts that define places and exclusive parts in it. This division is always troubled and aims to organize the sensitive, showing who can take part in the common according to what they do.

According to Machado (2013), the sharing of the sensitive takes us to the constitution of the identities that are part of it. The work of politics will consist of questioning the account of the parts of this system in a process that Rancière understands as “political subjectivation”. Political subjectivation is a process of disidentification or declassification that questions the police order in a certain sensitive field. With this, it allows questioning not only the account of each part in a shared system, but the very process of counting the parts, separating them hierarchically. Politics arises, therefore, because those who have no right to be counted as speaking beings manage to be counted, and establish a community by putting in common the damage that is nothing more than the confrontation itself, the contradiction of two housed worlds. into one: the world they are in and the one they are not in. (RANCIÈRE, 1996). As Pallamin points out, “the idea of ​​emancipation refers to the affirmation of the principle of equality as being at the origin of the political sphere” (PALLAMIN, 2012, p. 64).

For Rancière (1996), society would be fair if there was a balance between profits and losses, where the shares of the common and the titles to obtain these shares were equally distributed. But capitalist society is structured precisely so that there is no such balance. The bourgeois class owns the wealth, titles, properties, and owns the largest shares of the commons.

In turn, the people are nothing more than an undifferentiated mass that has neither wealth, nor titles nor properties. He has nothing that could guarantee a greater participation in the distribution of places, functions and titles. The people constitute what Rancière calls “without-parcel”. As a result, the mass of men without a share or property identifies itself with the community in the name of the damage that those whose qualities or properties have the natural effect of throwing it back into the non-existence of those who take no part in anything ceaselessly do it. , 1996).

Politics begins precisely where one stops balancing profits and losses (RANCIÉRE, 1996). This is why politics is not a conflict between parties or ideological positions, but a conflict over dividing the very core of the sensible world. It is a way of being of a community that opposes another way of being, it is a section of the sensitive world that opposes another section of the sensitive world (RANCIÉRE, 2002). In this way, at the base of Rancière's political thought is the belief that dissent promotes a form of resistance expressed in a process of political subjectivation that begins with the questioning of what it means to “speak” and to be an interlocutor in a common world, having the power to define and redefine what is considered common in a community (MARQUES, 2011, p. 26).

What we have tried to show so far is that it becomes urgent in our time to think about an education that subverts the order of consensus and that can prepare the less favored for dissent. The Universal Teaching proposed by Jacotot develops in the individual the ability to reflect and question through his will and autonomy. It is from the clarification of himself that he gains the ability to use the word, developing the proficiency to argue and expose his ideas, being able, through his freedom, to make public use of his reason. It is only on the basis of his freedom that he becomes capable of action. That's how it was in the Greek city-state. Individuals exercised their freedom in political matters and all citizens were considered equal before the assembly (Isegoria). The principle of equality guaranteed the right to demonstrate and the freedom to speak on polis issues.

What is at the heart of The Ignorant Master, and which Rancière borrows from Joseph Jacotot, is the fundamental idea that equality is not an objective, but a starting point to be verified, which means that one must act on the assumption that that we speak with equals, that we act with equals. He also developed this same idea in the sphere of politics, saying that there is democracy as long as there is recognition of a capacity to think that belongs to everyone, and that is opposed to any capacity for thought that is specialized (RANCIÈRE, 2014 b).

From this perspective, there is nothing to prevent the common worker, the housewife or the poorest from actively participating in political issues: “In this regard, the poor, workers and women, for example, can deliberate on administrative issues , revealing that it is not necessary to be an expert to exercise power. And they can do this, according to Rancière, as long as they do not restrict their demands to particular needs, but translate them and bring them closer to collective demands. It is this movement of translation that Rancière associates with equality and a disidentification that positions subjects in a movement of constant connection and disconnection with the “names” that characterize them and that characterize their struggles” (LELO & MARQUES, 2014, p. 351 ).

Jacotot's method prepares for this awareness that everyone is equal and that, for this reason, in a democratic society, everyone has the right to participate in political issues. The awareness of this equality leads them to the discovery that no one has the title to govern. Power does not belong to birth or wisdom, wealth or seniority. It doesn't belong to anyone. No specific property distinguishes those who have or do not have a vocation to govern. The only foundation of political authority is contingency (RANCIÈRE, 2014, p. 3). For this reason, the poorest from this awareness can make public use of their reason to confront and disturb the consensual order of functioning of the State.

To finalize our reasoning, we try to clarify that Jacotot's ideas of an education for intellectual emancipation acquire enormous importance for the current Brazilian educational context. Since the nineties we have had the experience of extreme conservatism intensified by the rise to power of neoliberal governments such as Collor, Itamar and Fernando Henrique. Since that time, education has become a lucrative business and has responded to the new demands of the job market. The collapse of the Fordist mode of production around the world made possible a new organization of work: the advent of the flexible mode of production. This new form of production combines intensive use of technology, outsourcing and flexibility in production. From this, the uses of automation, information technology, microelectronics and artificial intelligence intensified as a requirement of this new change in the world of work.

From this new form of capital accumulation, there was a great change in education, which began to obey the interests of the capitalist industrial world. In this regard, Fogaça (2001) states that it would be necessary to prioritize reforms in the educational systems of industrialized countries or those in the process of industrialization, in order to better prepare their human resources for this new stage of capitalist production, in which the school would play a fundamental role. in the basic professional qualification of all segments of the occupational hierarchy. In this sense, this new workforce should have a high technical background, with multiple skills and competencies.

With the extreme appreciation of technical specialization, spiritual culture and humanist education were relegated to the background. With that, man became just an appendage of the machine and started to be formed as a machine to increase its efficiency. For the reproduction of this society, intellectual and cultural formation is no longer necessary, but one that accounts for technical rationality, which is the thought that coordinates means with ends.

The shock of the humanist formation resulted in a greater alienation of the individual, who became incapable of reflecting on his historical and social condition. When technical instruction is separated from human training, man's thinking is reduced to the concrete world of things, serving only as calculation, performance and efficiency to adapt ever better to the socially required standards and modes of behavior. With a reified mind and devoid of a full human formation, their interiority is filled with entertainment, values ​​and worldview imposed by the mass media. In this regard, Matos states: “The void left by the failure of humanist education – which sought to form the “excellence of talents and ability” – is now filled by the values ​​of the media and the market. Mass education does not aim to form the spirit, on the contrary, it adapts the individual to the entrepreneurial values ​​of profit, competition and success, on the one hand, and the vicissitudes of the market, on the other. Competition may perhaps improve goods, but "necessarily makes men worse." The values ​​linked to the individual converted now into entrepreneur or consumer disappear” (MATOS, 2001, p. 144).

The deterioration of humanist education makes it urgent in establishments to be more concerned with the cultural formation of individuals. The idea of ​​a universal teaching, based on Joseph Jacotot's intellectual autonomy, is a great stimulus for a more comprehensive spiritual formation, since it prepares individuals for enlightenment, in the Kantian sense of the word. Thus, the autonomy of thought must arise when individuals are able to understand their own experience and assess their destiny and social position in the great order of the whole. It is necessary for them to understand the mediations and forces that take place between their lives and society.

Individuals can only understand their difficulties, dramas and sufferings by understanding the historical forces and power relations that determine them. In this sense, as stated by Paulo Freire (2005), authentic education is not made from A to B or from A over B, but from A with B, mediated by the world. A world that impresses and challenges both, giving rise to visions or points of view about it. Visions impregnated with anxieties, doubts, hopes or despair that contain significant themes, based on which the programmatic content of education will be constituted. Thus, humanism consists in allowing the awareness of our full humanity, as a condition and obligation, as a situation and project.

Education for autonomy plays a fundamental role for critical thinking. It is up to her to clarify the prevailing forms of social dominance and the historical forces that could transform society into a true universality. It is through an emancipated education that individuals must be legitimized by an autonomous conscience, being able to judge contemporary society, being prepared for dissent.

The individual who educates himself expands his world view, increases his perception, broadens his language, being able to challenge what is given and constituted. Despite being unique subjects with particular needs and interests, based on their autonomy and freedom, they can transcend mere subjectivity. With this, they could develop new moral, aesthetic and intellectual values ​​that would allow building a more just and egalitarian society.

*Michel Aires de Souza Dias he holds a doctorate in education from USP.


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RANCIÈRE. The Actuality of The Ignorant Master. Interview granted to Patrice Vermeren; Laurence Cornu; Andrea Benvenuto. Trans. Lily of the Valley. Education & Society. Campinas, vol.24, n.82, 185-202, April 2003.

RANCIÈRE. The Ignorant Master: Five Lessons on Intellectual Emancipation. Trans. Lily of the Valley. Belo Horizonte: Authentic, 2002.

RANCIÈRE. Disagreement: politics and philosophy. Trans. Angela Leite Lopes. São Paulo: Editora 34, 1996.

SANTOS, Leonel Ribeiro dos. “Controversial Use of Reason”, or “Perpetual Peace in Philosophy”? On antinomic thought and the principle of antagonism in Kant. Transformation, Marília, v. 37, p. 93-116, 2014. Special Edition. Available in


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