The basic question of this essay is what motivates a person to act on behalf of the "ethical good"? Critical theorists (such as Max Horkheimer, Paulo Freire, and Sharon Welch) have proposed the educational development of critical rationality as the answer to this question, with Freire adding the notion of love and Welch adding the notion of "dangerous memory." These positions are both critiqued and used as a starting place for proposing a critical ethics with three bases: (1) Emmanuel Levinas's notion of ethical infinity (that is, a person is more than any category can reveal and categories entrap and harm the person), (2) the notion of creating a community based on "relational authority," and (3) the development of moral imagination. Descriptions of specific classroom situations ground the discussion in education.
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