21 – 25 September 2017   print this page

Course directors:

Violetta Waibel, University of Vienna, Austria
Marie-Elise Zovko, Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia
Myriam Gerhard , Carl von Ossietsky University of Oldenburg, Germany

Course description:

Organisational assistant: Steffen Stolzenberger

This course considers the present crisis in education from a philosophical standpoint and in light of the crisis of the humanities generally.Ittakes as its point of departure a comparison of contemporary ideals of education with the historical roots of education.The Greek concept of paideiaand the German concept of Bildung are exemplary in this regard, being both more comprehensive and more complex than the English term "education". Introduced into the German language bythe philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart, the idea of Bildung traces itsroots to the Judaeo-Christian belief that human beings are created in God'simage, as Bild or image of the divine Urbild or archetype. The same idea isprefigured in the concept of "becoming like God", homoiosis theoi in Plato, Platonism, and Neoplatonism.The tension between type and archetype, like the tension between natureand the perfection of nature, and between the human being as part of thecommon order of nature and the human being as part of the intellectualorder, is a determining factor in the history of education and culture.Renaissance ideals of individuality and humanism based on study of the Classics transform the religious ideal of likeness to God into a secular and civic ideal of education. The Enlightenment vision of the practical, moral and social education of the freeand rational individual continues this development, while Idealist and Romantic ideals strive to reinstate harmoniousformation of the mind and heart of the self-conscious subject.

Contemporary attempts to reduce educationaloutcomes to measurable competencies for the purpose of increasedeconomic competitiveness and maximization of "human capital"are opposed to the broadly humanistic ideals of the Enlightenment, Renaissance, and the earlier ideals of Bildungand paideia. The tendency of government policy toconcentrate funding in the natural sciences, medicine and technology whilereducing funding for the humanities – and attempting to mold study and research in thehumanities into something more like natural sciences, creates adangerous imbalance in the area of education and training, skewing andundermining the original aim of the humanities, and of education itself. Emphasison marketability of skills derailscentral aspects of education like cultivation of aesthetic and artisticability and imagination, of metaphorical, symbolic and analogical thinking,mand the study of cultural heritage, and so undermines its own goal ofpromoting innovativeness and creativity for the sake of increased economiccompetitiveness.

In this context, the question arises as to whether and to what extenthistorical concepts and educational ideals like that of‘Bildung’are indeed opposed to contemporary concepts of education, or whether some aspects of their interpretation may have contributed to therepressive tendencies which havebecome apparent in the history of education. For this reason, analysis of historical approaches of ‘Bildung’ and education must alsocome to grips with the roots of today’s crisis of education in the history of philosophy.

Participants are invited to contribute a paper or presentation on topics relevant, but not necessarily limited to these questions, and to this year’s focus on the historical development of the concept of education and philosophical models of education, as suggested by the following thematic clusters:

• philosophical models of education from Ancient times to the modern period

• concepts of human nature and the perfection of human nature from Ancient times to the modern period

• education and the arts, from Ancient times to the modern period

* Programme offer ECTS credits.

Recognition of credit as agreed with home institution. 6 ECTS points possible altogether. Requirements: Frequent and active participation (regelmäßige und aktive Teilnahme): 3 ECTS; final exam of course (Abschlussklausur zur Vorlesung): 1 ECTS seminar paper oral and written at least five pages (mündliches Referat mit schriftlicher Ausarbeitung von mindestens fünf Seiten): 2ECTS other additional achievement (andere entsprechendeZusatzleistung):2ECTS

Course lecturers:

Nives Delija Treščec, University of Zadar, Croatia
Renate Kroschel , University of Freiburg, Germany