This article offers a critical survey of the way conceptual historians have portrayed the relationship between the concept and traditions of humanist Bildung in Germany and the phenomenon of National Socialism. Contrary to the views held by Reinhart Koselleck and other leading figures of the German conceptual- historical guild, research carried out over the last four decades has documented that there were several links to Nazism from institutions, individuals and groups that identified with the humanist ideal. In his conclusive remarks, the author evaluates the significance of these historical findings and argues that they cast into doubt at least some central features of the concept of Bildung.
The background of this paper is rooted in two societal conditions. Firstly, terrorism or extreme ideological messages and threats are constantly changing their shape and character. Secondly, various Internet-based mediation channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and other chat rooms, are used to express extreme ideological ideas and manifestos – a kind of «virtual terrorism.» Therefore, politicians and educational leaders, schools and teachers must work to promote digital awakening, i.e. promoting an awareness of such processes in order to develop a critical competence which can uncover and reveal the message conveyed through the social media. The question is whether such a digital awakening can be achieved through traditional media teaching and methods for text and image analysis. In this paper we argue, by way of the educational [Pädagogische] theory of Bollnow, and the philosophy of education of Hegel and Kierkegaard, that education needs to go beyond such methods, as they prevent students from being able to catch up with terrorism’s constantly changing faces. We argue that digital awakening is both a continuous and a discontinuous process which creates challenges for practical pedagogy. Teaching based on predefined answers is probably not the solution. More use, that is, educational use of images in teaching can, so we argue, be a fruitful way to go.
This article reconstructs, from David Hume’s later writings, a theory of the significance of (moral) education for the civilizing process that must be part of social progress. It is claimed that this civilizing effect depends on three qualities of education. The first has to do with the content of education. An educated person should be able to discuss some important issues of contemporary society. Hume’s Essays may be read as a kind of catalogue of such issues. The second is a certain form or attitude towards discourse and the opinions of other people. Politeness and a problem-solving attitude based on knowledge are essential aspects of education. The third is a certain socio-economic basis for education. It is argued that, according to Hume, one of the most important effects of commerce and commercial society is its effect of social progress, civilization and education. One important function of education is to counter-balance a special form of modern fanaticism (enthusiasm) that follows from political actions inspired by religious or other forms of ideological dogma.
In this article I examine the human capacity to judge. I start with Hannah Arendt’s reflections on the activity of thinking. It turns out that thinking is a dialogical process between the thinking ego and the self. Thinking has a liberating effect on the faculty of judgment. The two mental activities are closely related, but they are not the same. While thinking is an intercourse with myself and the self, judging anticipates the judgments of others, and potentially of all others. Judging has its own modus operandi and far more to do with making distinctions than with organizing and subsuming the particular under the general. I therefore turn to Arendt’s reception of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Kant’s third critique provides her with a model of judging where one experiences belonging to a community whenever one is willing to judge. In exercising our ability to judge, we not only practice our membership in a world we have in common, we also contribute towards stabilizing our world. Therefore, it seems to me, we have good reason to say that exercising judgment is an important task for political education.
Keywords: «enlarged mentality», judging, sensus communis, imagination, judgment of taste, world, examples
Receptions of Bildung [Liberal Education, Self-formation] in modern higher education research often emphasise either the student’s or researcher’s ability for critical analytical self-reflection and self-thinking with eyes for societal or democratic problems and issues in a Kantian or Habermasian way, or, emphasise the student’s or researcher’s more aesthetic and self-creative attempts to find their «own voices» in terms of more postmodern and social constructivistic terms. Hans-Georg Gadamer goes another way in his understanding of Bildung. He argues why the concept of Bildung and wisdom should be prior to the concept of method and knowledge in the human science research. In this article a critical view is applied on contemporary reception of Gadamer’s notion of Bildung, which in the author’s eyes misses the important ontological dimension of the living practice of Bildung. Following Gadamer the article shows why «research-based education» should not only be lead by the voices of knowing (epistemological voice), the voices of doing (methodological voice) and the voices of being (the existentialistic and self-creative voice of the person). Bildung is a tactfulness and musicality for the voices of Being (the life phenomena or Subject Matter), which can be reached through a Socratic not-knowing and community of wonder.