Reply Dominic Cole November 14, at 4:
The little work, as is well known, was not compiled for publication by the master himself. When the course fell to Kant he conformed, as was his wont, to the not unusual custom of taking a standard text-book on his theme—in this connection it was that of his colleague, Prof. But he did not allow the exposition of the book to hamper him in the original and constructive treatment of his subject.
There is, indeed, no very apparent trace of Bock in these notes. The text-book, being in his hand and accessible to his hearers, probably required no memoranda for exposition and criticism of it.
Whether he expounded and criticised or not, the legacy transmitted through Edition: The toughest things of the Critiques are not drawn upon, nor is there any terminological paraphernalia to deter the listener.
The Kantian ethic is there, right enough, but the teacher is feeling out after a theory of education. He is deeply interested in his theme, but his attitude towards it is inductive and experimental. He realised its importance and the magnitude of its issues, but also the imperfect and provisional nature of existing conclusions on the subject.
And his long academic career must have afforded him very Edition: But it was above all the time and the man that left the thoughtful minds of the last quarter of the eighteenth century no option but to be intensely concerned with the problem of education. The doctrine of the rights of man, the conviction of the worth of the individual as such, was taking flesh to dwell among us.
Be not for ever seeking the man in the child, heedless of what the child is in and for himself.
If he die young, look on him not merely as a failure, a bud nipped off, but as one who for a while and in his own way has tasted sweet life. And see to it that life to such has been made sweet! Let the child, echoed Kant, be trained as a Edition: He had, of course, to be trained up in the duties he owed to a social macrocosm, but this entity was not so much a definitely conceived state—that ideal was of the past and not yet re-born—as a vaguely comprehensive humanity of independent individuals.
Nor was the community of children, nor were their claims on each other, very definitely taken into account. That also was to come.
The individualism of the time saw only the Child and the Man, the nature of him overlaid by a crust of privilege, convention, and corrupt tradition. This was to be broken away; and the common nature that lay stifled beneath elicited and developed by a wholesome culture that should be all-powerful to redeem and reform.
So would the moral sense innate in him sprout and burgeon, till the dignity of Man in the blossom of the Youth should stand confessed and vindicated.
Such and much more was in the air when these lecture-notes were written. And its Conjunktur had brought forth the man. Comenius and Locke, over and under a century earlier, had been fashioning him. Educational innovations were tried; educational reformers were maturing.
The Philanthropist schools were founded in Germany in and afterKant taking a lively interest in the parent Philanthropin at Dessau. Bahrdt, Basedow, Campe, were avowed Rousseauists. Pestalozzi was preparing his aphorisms. Oberlin, Herder, Lessing, were in their prime; Olivier yet a youth.
Herbart was in the nursery; Fichte and Froebel in the cradle. If these slight suggestions be worked out, the reader of these Thoughts on Education will get a more lifelike background to them than if he held in his hand the defunct text-book on which Kant embroidered his lectures.
Rousseau far more than Bock—the pioneer and not the pedant—is the real inspirer, I do not say of Edition: This is patent throughout.
Bock, as I have said, is never quoted. Rousseau, on the other hand, appears throughout, explicit and implicit, though the tender insight of the father is replaced by the relatively rigid and crude standpoints of one who had never gone in and out among infants of his own. To the ideal of liberty Kant attained by a road peculiar to his own philosophy.
They bear the impress of these conditions. Both dogmatic and inductive, like his critical philosophy, they show also a standpoint which is characteristic of an age that was passing, and yet affords glimpses into the future.
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