Bildung (German: [ˈbɪldʊŋ] , "education", "formation", etc.) refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation (as related to the German for: creation, image, shape), wherein philosophy and education are linked in a manner that refers to a process of both personal and cultural maturation. This maturation is a harmonization of the individual's mind and heart and in a unification of selfhood and identity within the broader society, as evidenced with the literary tradition of Bildungsroman .
In this sense, the process of harmonization of mind, heart, selfhood and identity is achieved through personal transformation, which presents a challenge to the individual's accepted beliefs. In Hegel's writings, the challenge of personal growth often involves an agonizing alienation from one's "natural consciousness" that leads to a reunification and development of the self. Similarly, although social unity requires well-formed institutions, it also requires a diversity of individuals with the freedom (in the positive sense of the term) to develop a wide-variety of talents and abilities and this requires personal agency. However, rather than an end state, both individual and social unification is a process that is driven by unrelenting negations.
In this sense, education involves the shaping of the human being with regard to their own humanity as well as their innate intellectual skills. So, the term refers to a process of becoming that can be related to a process of becoming within existentialism.
The term Bildung also corresponds to the Humboldtian model of higher education from the work of Prussian philosopher and educational administrator Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835). Thus, in this context, the concept of education becomes a lifelong process of human development, rather than mere training in gaining certain external knowledge or skills. Such training in skills is known by the German words Erziehung, and Ausbildung. Bildung in contrast is seen as a process wherein an individual's spiritual and cultural sensibilities as well as life, personal and social skills are in process of continual expansion and growth. Bildung is seen as a way to become more free due to higher self-reflection. Von Humboldt wrote with respect to Bildung in 1793/1794:
"Education [Bildung], truth and virtue" must be disseminated to such an extent that the "concept of mankind" takes on a great and dignified form in each individual (GS, I, p. 284). However, this shall be achieved personally by each individual, who must "absorb the great mass of material offered to him by the world around him and by his inner existence, using all the possibilities of his receptiveness; he must then reshape that material with all the energies of his own activity and appropriate it to himself so as to create an interaction between his own personality and nature in a most general, active and harmonious form".
Most explicitly in Hegel's writings, the Bildung tradition rejects the pre-Kantian metaphysics of being for a post-Kantian metaphysics of experience that rejects universal narratives. Much of Hegel's writings were about the nature of education (both Bildung and Erziehung), reflecting his own role as a teacher and administrator in German secondary schools, and in his more general writings.More recently, Gadamer and McDowell have used the concept in their writings.
Professor of philosophy, Julian Nida-Rümelin has challenged the idea that Bildung is no more than 'normal' education.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher. He is considered one of the most important figures in German idealism and one of the founding figures of modern Western philosophy. His influence extends to the entire range of contemporary philosophical issues, from epistemology and metaphysics to aesthetics, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and the history of philosophy.
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.
In philosophy, the term idealism identifies and describes metaphysical perspectives which assert that reality is indistinguishable and inseparable from human perception and understanding; that reality is a mental construct closely connected to ideas. Idealist perspectives are in two categories: subjective idealism, which proposes that a material object exists only to the extent that a human being perceives the object; and objective idealism, which proposes the existence of an objective consciousness that exists prior to and independently of human consciousness, thus the existence of the object is independent of human perception.
A subject is a being who has a unique consciousness and/or unique personal experiences, or an entity that has a relationship with another entity that exists outside itself.
Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. Educated at the University of Chicago and Yale University, he had strong interests and training in both the history of philosophy and in contemporary analytic philosophy. Rorty had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia, and Professor of Comparative literature at Stanford University. Among his most influential books are Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989).
John Henry McDowell, FBA is a South African philosopher, formerly a fellow of University College, Oxford, and now university professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work has been in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. McDowell was one of three recipients of the 2010 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award, and is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the British Academy.
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with Romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment. The best-known thinkers in the movement, besides Kant, were Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Arthur Schopenhauer, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the proponents of Jena Romanticism. August Ludwig Hülsen, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gottlob Ernst Schulze, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Salomon Maimon and Friedrich Schleiermacher also made major contributions.
Wilfrid Stalker Sellars was an American philosopher and prominent developer of critical realism, who "revolutionized both the content and the method of philosophy in the United States".
The Phenomenology of Spirit is the most widely-discussed philosophical work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel; its German title can be translated as either The Phenomenology of Spirit or The Phenomenology of Mind. Hegel described the work, published in 1807, as an "exposition of the coming to be of knowledge". This is explicated through a necessary self-origination and dissolution of "the various shapes of spirit as stations on the way through which spirit becomes pure knowledge".
Robert Boyce Brandom is an American philosopher who teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. He works primarily in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and philosophical logic, and his academic output manifests both systematic and historical interests in these topics. His work has presented "arguably the first fully systematic and technically rigorous attempt to explain the meaning of linguistic items in terms of their socially norm-governed use, thereby also giving a non-representationalist account of the intentionality of thought and the rationality of action as well."
Absolute idealism is an ontologically monistic philosophy chiefly associated with G. W. F. Hegel and Friedrich Schelling, both of whom were German idealist philosophers in the 19th century. The label has also been attached to others such as Josiah Royce, an American philosopher who was greatly influenced by Hegel's work, and the British idealists.
Frederick Charles Beiser is an American philosopher who is professor of philosophy at Syracuse University. He is one of the leading English-language scholars of German idealism. In addition to his writings on German idealism, Beiser has also written on the German Romantics and 19th-century British philosophy. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research in 1994, and was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015.
Neopragmatism, sometimes called post-Deweyan pragmatism, linguistic pragmatism, or analytic pragmatism, is the philosophical tradition that infers that the meaning of words is a result of how they are used, rather than the objects they represent.
Robert Buford Pippin is an American philosopher. He is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago.
Richard Shusterman is an American pragmatist philosopher. Known for his contributions to philosophical aesthetics and the emerging field of somaesthetics, currently he is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University.
Allen William Wood is an American philosopher specializing in the work of Immanuel Kant and German Idealism, with particular interests in ethics and social philosophy. One of the world’s foremost Kant scholars, he is the Ruth Norman Halls professor of philosophy at Indiana University, Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor, Emeritus, at Stanford University, and has held professorships and visiting appointments at numerous universities in the United States and Europe. In addition to popularising and clarifying the ethical thought of Kant, Wood has also mounted arguments against the validity of trolley problems in moral philosophy.
The following is a list of the major events in the history of German idealism, along with related historical events.
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Paolo Diego Bubbio is an Italian philosopher and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Western Sydney University. He is known for his research on post-Kantian philosophy, philosophical hermeneutics and philosophy of religion. He is the editor of the "Contemporary Studies in Idealism" book series for Lexington Books.
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