The following text was originally published in Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIII, no. 3/4, 1993, p. 639-648. ©UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 2000 This document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgment is made of the source.
1As is usual in the German language, the concept of Bildung (shaping or education in the broadest sense) is used by Hegel in a variety of different ways and applied equally to the study of nature, society and culture with their different developments and forms. It accordingly extends from the organic natural drive (nisus formativus, inward form) to the processes by which ethical and mental maturityis acquired and on to the highest spiritual manifestations of religion, art and science in which the mind of an individual, a people or the whole of mankind may be represented. The specific pedagogical or educational significance of the German word plays only a subordinate role. In this article, the pedagogical content of Hegel’s work will be approached primarily from the theoretical perspectiveof education in its broadest sense. This is not an arbitrary decision that might be prejudicial to the existing body of texts and to their objectively correct interpretation. On the contrary, this viewpoint is the only way of arriving at a correct assessment of the possible significance of typically Hegelian reflection on what is commonly referred to today as ‘educational action’, with a view toapplying those ideas in a derived form under the present circumstances. In contrast, for example, with Kant, Hegel himself assigned a particularly high importance to this broad concept of education as a source of proof in his ‘Phenomenology of the Mind’ and in his lectures on ‘The Philosophy of Justice’. He did so for historical reasons and also for reasons pertaining to developmental logic. Theseare the two areas in which it is possible to perceive most clearly how Hegel interpreted the ‘educational 2 question’ and what he saw as its limits and problems. However, in order to acquire a comprehensive picture of the different aspects from which the phenomenon of education is viewed in its natural and mental, as also in its ethical and cultural, aspects, we must move beyond these sources andturn our attention to texts on aesthetics, the philosophy of religion and even on logic, which repeatedly provide sometimes surprising insights into the Greek paideia, and also into the characteristic educational principles of modern times. At all events, that has always been the approach of leading Hegelians to the area of pedagogics. The same attitude is encountered when Willy Moog, for example,goes so far as to put the question as to whether the more extensive principle of Bildung, which was systematically developed by Hegel, did not at the very least 3 relativize the task of education as such or even render it superfluous. However, the concept of education in its narrower sense was not alien to Hegel. It was after all one of the guiding themes of his age, even if its relative value inthe interplay of schooling, training and teaching was not uncontroverted, after the frontiers of all education committed to the principle of practical reason had become indeterminate. Hegel also associated certain more clearly defined concepts with the word education. However, he never developed them in a broader context so that any exegesis must draw together the threads of the many—occasionallywhimsical—statements dispersed throughout his work and try to establish a mosaic pattern before drawing conclusions from them. With that end in view, we shall concern ourselves primarily with the ‘Nuremburg texts’ and with the 1
passages from the ‘Encyclopedia’ which are a source of information on natural, mental and ethical development. Here, we shall also find statements on the need for,...
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