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Light in GermanyScenes from an Unknown Enlightenment$
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T. J. Reed

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226205106

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226205243.001.0001

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Good Guardianship

Good Guardianship

Light through Education

(p.135) Chapter 8 Good Guardianship
Light in Germany

T.J. Reed

University of Chicago Press

The cause of enlightened education grows from Renaissance roots, energetically promoted by German eighteenth-century reformers under the more enlightened local rulers. Kant is again in the thick of it, arguing for the priority of teaching the young to think and to see beyond local concerns to the good of humanity. There is progress despite conservative resistance and financial shortfalls. There are graphic accounts of personal experience, especially of the distortion of education by religion. The two sides clash dramatically when Kant is forbidden by Frederick the Great’s successor to write further on religion—effectively, an attack on the universities, which is later effectively answered. Schiller too defends their liberal role, Goethe expounds more dubious notions of schooling. Universities take on their modern form following the principles of Wilhelm von Humboldt.

Keywords:   innovation, liberalisation, Philanthropin, Rousseauism, religion, university teaching, backlash, Bildungsroman

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