En Route: Toward a Philosophy and Practice of Liberal Education
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Brazilian educational philosopher, Paulo Freire, defined praxis as “reflection and action directed at the structures to be transformed.” The structures to which Jackson Newell has directed his reformist energy throughout his career have been the aims and methods of liberal education, by which he strives to free students to pursue knowledge and serve the public interest without being blinded by preconceived ideological, political, or religious assumptions. His pedagogy has grown across a lifetime of wide-ranging experiences, academic inquiry, constant experimentation, and reflection. In this essay Newell describes how he leads students through their own encounters with concrete experience, intellectual and ethical exploration, and even spiritual discovery, to become free and responsible moral agents in their own right. He argues that this is the most direct way in which a college education becomes a public good.