Bildung and Paideia: The Connection between Early German Romanticism’s and Plato’s Ideas about Humanist Education
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The purpose of this paper is to reconsider the role of humanistic education (Bildung) played in the cultural project of the early German Romanticism through tracing back to Plato’s idea of philosophical cultivation (paideia). Like Plato, the early German Roman-tics postulate Bildung or the education of humanity as the central goal or the highest aspi-ration for the cultural practice of mankind in order to settle the fundamental problems concerning the social and political crisis. This attitude is similar to Plato’s critique of the degenerate regime in the guise of democratic politics. There is an apparent and inevitable divergence between Plato’s aristo-cracy and the Romanticism poesie-cracy. That is to say, the early German Romanticism wagered a war against ancient moral idealism represented by Plato and finally turned it on its head, but they write a paradigmatic apocalypse of the soul for moderns.
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