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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter offers a historical and systematic overview of the idea of Bildung (education in culture) as it grows out of the Enlightenment and reaches a full, philosophical articulation in nineteenth-century German philosophy. Against a tendency to present the orientation towards Bildung as a conservative and potentially aestheticizing approach to philosophy, the chapter argues that philosophy of Bildung develops hand in hand with a critical-reflective ethos and should not be conflated with the accepting attitudes of the Bildungsbürger that Thomas Mann and Theodor W. Adorno so convincingly criticized in the post-World War II era. It is only when understood as such a critical-reflective notion that we can fully realize the recent resurgence of the notion of Bildung in debates about the status and future of higher education.

Keywords: education, critique, history, culture, literature

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