Psychology and Education: The link of ‘concientization’ and dialogue method of Paulo Freire on promotion of peace

This short paper was written for a response of group discussion on ICU Peace Studies course entitled, “Psychology of Peace and Conflict Resolution” which conducted by Prof. Toshiaki Sasao (ICU Professor in Psychology, Education and Peace Studies) in Spring Term 2014.


Contributions of psychology practitioners on issues of peace, security and conflict are in particular regarding the moral responsibility and expertise of this respective community. Psychology examines the attitudes, values and beliefs of individuals and human in groups on its human nature including on the way of thinking about peace and conflict. Human being has the structure and function of mind which determine as its reality. The way human being comprehends the world and its “reality” keeps changing as well as the way of human being determines the notion of peace and conflict also changing.

Psychology contribution to peace is intertwined with the role of education, since education mainly rely on psychology in its educating process. Education is one of key elements on peace promotion in this world. One of the main problems within humanity is reluctant on the awareness and acceptance of diversity. Education that enlighten and liberate people from illiteracy and innumeracy inspire people to the realization of more peaceful world that respect humankind diversity without any discrimination and bias to the different people from any part of the world. Education is expected to lure people on the appreciation of human kind and life itself. Education leads to enlighten people who respect and responsibly live in society and in a wider global citizenship.

The education concept of concientization and dialogue from Paulo Freire that had been practicing mainly in South America community has the similar direction of the intertwine psychology and education on promoting peace and social justice. As Galtung’s notion of peace that comprises negative peace and positive peace, peace in this term is not only the absence of direct violence (psychical violence, conflict or war) but also the absence of indirect violence (structural violence), or in the other words is the realization of social justice.

By concientization and dialogue method, Freire tried to dismantle the culture of silence in South American society, in particular in Brazil and the traditional passive concept of education in school (banking education). Concientization is translation of Portuguese term conscientização, which is also translated as “consciousness raising” and “critical consciousness”. In this sense, educating people can be done from children on their growing process and also for adults to eradicate illiteracy and innumeracy among them. In particular, learning to read for adults is a process in which content and materials bearing people daily reality, for instance topics on nationalism, profit remittances abroad, the political revolution in Brazil, illiteracy, the vote for the illiterates, and democracy. The process encourages active participation (dialogue) and critical thinking of people own concrete social reality that expected lead into awareness of the possibilities for action and change ‘reality’ toward social justice and welfare for the community. By this meaning, psychology through education can contributes in practical to the eradication of illiteracy and innumeracy toward more peaceful and justice world. []



Avoseh, M.B.M., Literacy and Conscientization in Paulo Freire’s Philosophy of Education, was accessed from: at April 17th, 2014 at 20:10.

Christie, Daniel J. and Cristina J. Montiel, “Contribution Psychology to War and Peace” atAmerican Psychologist “Peace Psychology”, October 2013.

Nyirenda, Juma E., The Relevance of Paulo Freire’s Contributions to Education and Development in Present Day Africa, was accessed from at April 17th, 2014 at 20:00.

Sasao, Toshiaki, “General Description”, Course Syllabus of the Psychology of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Spring Term 2014.

Vollhardt, Johanna K. and Rezarta Bilali, “Social Psychology’s Contribution to the Psychological Study of Peace: A Review”, Social Psychology 2008; Vol. 39 (1):12–25.


Comments on Immanuel Kant’s “To Perpetual Peace”

Comments on Immanuel Kant, To Perpetual Peace, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company Inc., 2003), pp. 1-42.

This short paper was written for a seminar class response of ICU Peace Studies course so-called, ‘Ideas on Peace’ which conducted by Prof. Shin Chiba on Autumn 2013.

Immanuel Kant, "To Perpetual Peace"

To understand Immanuel Kant’s thinking, I think it is very substantial to keep in mind Kant’s categorical imperative maxim. Kant mentioned it on Appendix page 33, as follows: “Act so that you can will that your maxim ought to become a universal law (no matter that the end maybe)”. In my opinion, all concepts that Kant has offered were derived from this categorical imperative maxim, that is concept of three separation of law systems which are: Republicanism, Confederation and Cosmopolitan Right.

The categorical imperative maxim that proposed by Kant puts universal law as the foundation for every people action and relation, moreover as foundation among people in community as nation and international (global) citizen. ‘What we act so that we can will that our maxim ought to become a universal law’, means that our act and will should be acceptable and become every people’s will. “If you don’t want to be threatened by the others, so don’t threat the others first, otherwise if you want that every people obey the law and regulation, so obey the law and regulation first”. It is a very good and important point for the citizenship life (or nation, regional and global life), which every people realize what to do and with their own awareness obey the law and regulation for the common good. Common good could lead into the need of peaceful life for everyone. In my opinion, this concept indeed cultivated what Kant meant by the ‘Perpetual Peace’.

I’d like to emphasize the three separation of law systems by Kant. Firstly, the concept of republicanism that consists of separation of executive and legislative on government. It accords the principle of freedom of people, dependence concept one each other and the law of equality for people as citizen (p. 8). How if those principles compared to ‘state has to have moral entity’? How morality can play role in Kant’s concept of freedomdependence and equality? Deeper thinking would be needed to answer these questions. Secondly, is the concept of confederation. The right of nations should be based on a federation of free states (p. 12). Peace seeking confederation rather than world state, it is not centralized but rather the network-based. Kant emphasised the share of power. Thirdly is the Cosmopolitan right. Kant focused on discussion about citizen hospitality when he accentuated concept of cosmopolitan right. Hospitality is important since it guarantees people when they travel or live at other city or country. It also encourages people to respect other as they want to be respected wherever they are.

On the other hand, discussion on Kant’s Perpetual Peace mentioned by Richard Falk referring to Lester Edwin J. Ruiz said “… this demand for concreteness by reference to the Japanese peace constitution, which he views as a “translation” of Kant’s Perpetual Peace, an application of abstract ideas that is in Ruiz language ‘transformed into structure’”.[1] Kant’s Perpetual Peace has been underlying concrete peace constitution as it had happened in Japan, according to Ruiz. It shown that Kant’s Perpetual Peace indeed had significance influence on the political thinking even in the modern time.

Other point that I want to accentuate is Kant’s statement that says: “All action that affect the right of other man are wrong if their maxim is not consistent with publicity”, on Appendix p. 37. The word ‘publicity’ must be understood also in term of Kant’s categorical imperative maxim. Publicity does not stand alone by its meaning as publicity in common use, i.e. as publicity of actress, books, movies, politicians, etc. Publicity means how a action complies universal ‘deal’ maxim. On the other hands, perhaps this concept could be categorized on universalism or universality(?).

[1] Richard Falk, “Horizon of A Grand Theory of Peace”, on Yoichiro Murakami (Eds), A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation, (Cheltenham: Edwald Elgar Publishing Inc., 2008), p. 67.