Based on a text from Alden LeGrand Richards, we have previously pointed out that a science of education, which conceives of education as poiesis and which strives to develop an operational theory to guide education and to make its procedures more efficient, must necessarily restrict its view to two sectors: on one hand, to genetic development and, on the other hand, to the socialization of environmental conditioning.1 One eye is focused on the biological-psychological maturation process of the individual. The other eye on the societal variables which determine the distinguishing characteristics of a given individual; the first view centers on psychology, the second on sociology. It should be no great surprise that while both of these sciences were once classified as “helping sciences” to education, today they not only create disputes in the field of education, but often enough even claim to take its place. Indeed, historically as well as currently, these sciences have been so convincingly superior to pedagogy in the realm of articulating operational theories (i.e., pieces of a theory of education) that pedagogy could regularly glance at them with jealousy and could envy their pragmatic advantage.2

Though drawn from differing perspectives, because both perspectives are based upon an antimetaphysical view of man,3 they can be interbred, i.e., a socio-psychological perspective can be developed by joining pieces of knowledge from one side with those of the other. In spite of this possible overlapping, nearly all modern scientific efforts can be subdivided more or less clearly into two variations: one which emphasizes the natural development of the individual and which may be called the nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic variety, and another which focuses on the socialization of man and which may be called the nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic variety. If we wanted to name the two thinkers who drafted what might be called the basic writings of each variety and who set up the fundamental scaffolding for these towers of thought, then we may think of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Emile Durkheim. But before we turn to these two varieties of a scientific/ technological/industrial4 interpretation of education, it will be highly instructive to lay out briefly and consider the ideas of an author whose educational philosophy tried strongly to support and establish what we have called the scientific view of education: John Dewey.

Dewey is known not only as the most influential educational theorist of North America, but enjoys the reputation of being one of the most important educational philosophers of this century. Admittedly, in secondary sources, Dewey is most often represented in a one-sided manner, whether as the forerunner of the vocational and progressive school, as the advocate of a democratic education, or as preparing the way for a modern—predominately behavioristic—psychology of learning and thinking. To whatever extent these interpretations of his works may be correct, they do not hit the actual core of his thought. As a comprehensive look at his works readily shows, at this core was a philosophy of technology which was fed by a synthesis of a pragmatic optimism, an emphatically high estimation of (North American) democracy, and an almost fanatical enthusiasm for the inexhaustible possibilities of the progress of science and technology.5

Without doubt, a key to understanding the pedagogy of John Dewey is found in his critique of Kant’s ethics. This critique peaked in the accusation that instead of evaluating a moral action by the external results which it produced or caused, Kant placed an action’s value in its motives, thereby anchoring it in the inner convictions of the actor. Of course, the bias of such a pure ethics of conviction was not immediately charged to Kant, but must be shown from where nearly all biases of Western thought had their origin: in Aristotle. In the book, Reconstruction in Philosophy,6 which is tremendously important for understanding Dewey, he indicated that the great mistake of Western philosophy was that it declared the value of the highest human goods to be in and of themselves. In doing this, he claimed that it had removed itself from daily life and from the real concerns; it was about time finally to correct this and in its stead to set an ethic which corresponds to the political-social reality of modern democracy.

In his book, The Quest for Certainty,7 Dewey fought against the endless seeking for philosophical certainty. Using almost the same words which Francis Bacon had used against traditional philosophy, Dewey believed that too many people had spent too many years vainly wanting to gain certainty of things about which no one could know anything. This endless, fruitless quest, however, had prevented them from doing much which could have been useful for society. While absolute truths were unattainable and the quest for them would therefore remain wasted effort, it was very possible to find suitable solutions to the pressing problems of our daily life (to which the problems of education certainly also belong). For him, the application of the methods of modern science would be the only fruitful way, that could lead us to such solutions:

New methods of inquiry and reflection have become for the educated man today the final arbiter of all questions of fact, existence, and intellectual assent... There is but one sure road of access to truth—the road of patient, cooperative inquiry operating by means of observation, experiment, recorded and controlled reflection.8

In his Reconstruction in Philosophy, he attempted nothing more nor less than to make a new structure of philosophy out of the spirit of science. That which is of interest for our purposes in this attempt is that Dewey placed this new structure in a notable tradition. In Novum Organon Francis Bacon had overthrown the old “organon” of aristotelian philosophy and had replaced it with a new science. In doing this, he became the great, modern promoter of natural science and the spiritual father of industrial technology. In a like manner, Dewey saw his epochal task as finally extending the Baconian program—to observe nature scientifically in order to be able to control it technologically—to that realm where the old philosophies still played, and there to make it effective: the realm of human and social phenomena. Dewey, therefore, wanted to complete the Baconian revolution of philosophy by expanding it to all areas and converting it to a total technology, that is, one which is applied to nature, man, and society.

The main accusation which Dewey raised against the philosophic tradition, therefore, was the same one which Bacon had already raised: its inquiry removed itself too far from the concrete problems of daily living; it sought to escape the fickle unsteadiness of time and directed its efforts toward finding something “constant” which was beyond all temporal change, as it were, to find a secure sanctuary away from our undependable reality. Against this, modern natural science had recognized and, through impressive successes, had made clear to everyone that the world could not be conquered if the futile quest for a fixed point of truth endlessly continued. To the contrary, the notion of something fixed and outside the reality of our experience finally had to be thrown overboard; the archaic quest for final certainty and for an unchangeable object of our theoretical contemplation had to come to an end. Instead, our thinking was to become an active force which vehemently turns to the needs and requirements of today in such a way that the solutions found could also be effective and helpful tomorrow. In a lengthier passage of his book,9 Dewey dumped an entire cornucopia of irony over aristotelian philosophy, characterizing it mockingly as a science which knows the heavens better than it knows the earth and knows God, the unmoved mover, better than it knows the heavens. After this criticism, he turned in detail to the problem of theory and practice.

Dewey begins by describing theory thoroughly in the aristotelian sense as the disinterested contemplation of the eternal and unchangeable. Of course, this theoretical science of Aristotle as a pure “spectator conception of knowledge”10 was dismissed at once as useless and as entirely insignificant for the solution of the concrete problems of daily living. It seems remarkable, however, that in the entire chapter which referred to the aristotelian position, not a single word was referred to the very important distinction between praxis and poiesis; rather, both activities were combined by Dewey and subsumed under the concept of practice. Seen more precisely then, Aristotle is distorted in that the practical problems of moral and political action were suddenly transformed into the problems of a scientifically based poiesis. And Dewey is well aware of the entire scope of this transformation when he writes:

Now this marks a much more general change in the human attitude than perhaps appears at first sight. It signifies nothing less than that the world or any part of it as it presents itself at a given time is accepted or acquiesced in only as ‘material’ for change.11

And a little later in the same text he wrote:

Change becomes significant of new possibilities and ends to be attained; it becomes prophetic of a better future. Change is associated with progress rather than with lapse and fall. Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so that we will be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed. They are either obstacles to our ends or else means for their accomplishment.12

It is obvious that the concept of theory would also need to be radically altered in its meaning and so Dewey wrote with all clarity that our knowledge should be directed to these changes and should find its touchstone in whether or not it can produce particular changes. “Knowing...means a certain kind of intelligently conducted doing; it becomes operative and experimental.”13 In the process, the criterion for truth must also be shifted:

If ideas, meanings, conceptions, notions, theories, systems are instrumental to an active reorganization of the given environment, to a removal of some specific trouble and perplexity, then the test of their validity and value lies in accomplishing this work. If they succeed in their office, they are reliable, sound, valid, good, true.... That which guides us truly is true—demonstrated capacity for such guidance is precisely what is meant by truth.14

At this point, if we return to our original theme, we can see even more easily why such a scientific view of education develops into one (or a combination) of the two varieties characterized on one hand as the nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic view and on the other hand the nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic view. The processes of genetic development on one side and the social determinants of the environment on the other side become the “conditions and events,” the changing “variables” of which we must take control, if we want to be able to steer them in the direction of our wishes and needs. If we can succeed in taking control of the psychological laws of human development with all of their possible disruptions and deviations and if we reach the situation where we discover all of the environmental factors which determine human behavior and chart them in a type of map of the human mind, then the changes of man pursuant to his education and enculturation no longer need to be left to chance. Seen scientifically, they no longer need to be attributed to such nebulous and highly dubious factors as the free will of man; instead, they can be steered “in the direction of our wishes and needs.” Skinner has clearly formulated this position:

Autonomous man serves to explain only the things we are not yet able to explain in other ways. His existence depends upon our ignorance, and he naturally loses status as we come to know more about behavior. The task of a scientific analysis is to explain how the behavior of a person as a physical system is related to the conditions under which the human species evolved and the conditions under which the individual lives.15

Nature-optimistic, Society-pessimistic Science of Education

In order to explain what we have named the nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic view, we go back to a text which at first glance may appear to be of only marginal or little importance: a letter of Rousseau to the Prince of Würtemberg on September 10, 1763.16 In this letter, Rousseau responded to the Prince, who had asked advice concerning a list of criteria by which he could select a teacher for his daughter. After Rousseau had stressed the importance of making the right choice of teachers and had vigorously emphasized his own competence in this question, he enumerated a series of instructions which the Prince was to follow if he wanted to make a pedagogically correct decision. Briefly summarized, the following recommendations were given: (1) The teacher should be of the same sex as the pupil (therefore in this case should be a woman). (2) She should not be young and above all she should not be pretty. (3) It would be better if she were an old widow than an unmarried girl. (4) She should possess no lofty sentiments and should be even less of a clever woman. (5) She must be steady and she should always be mindful of her own interests first. (6) She should not be very lively, much rather, she should be dull and boring. She should in no way possess a rash or giddy disposition (evaporée). (7) She should be cool and indifferent and better to have a cold than an attractive character. (8) She should possess no type of education whatsoever. It would be best if she couldn’t read or write a word. (9) The only mental quality which she cannot do without is her sincerity.

At first this list of criteria appears almost paradoxical and one could think that Rousseau simply considered the Prince to be a fool. However, if these practical recommendations are followed back to Rousseau’s view of man and to his scientific concept of education,17 then suddenly, they will not only appear coherent and logically consistent, but also convincing. From Rousseau’s founding anthropological thesis that the basic nature of the child is good and degenerates only under the hands of man or under the corrupting influence of civilization, he distinguished three teachers which educate us: nature, man, and things.18 While nature brings the unfolding of our “good” powers and capacities and while things teach us through our experience with them, man as an educator seems to be the most questionable and extremely problematic; as adults—i.e., as distinguished from the yet uncontaminated children—they have already been corrupted by the permeating stench of civilization. Because—and herein lies the central thesis of Rousseau’s society-pessimistic (and his nature-optimistic) view of man—according to a historical law,19 human practices decay to the degree to which the arts and sciences progress. Man sinks when he appears to climb and what is bad about it is that he actually supposes his fall to be his perfection. Because the arts obviously live off of those accustomed to excess and because trade and civilization are driven forward by extravagance and luxury rather than by the common good, the civil virtues, which smear themselves over this hustle and bustle like bad theater grease paint, are not to be condemned; it is the civilization itself, as a whole, that must be thrown out.

Leaving nature and entering the conditions of society, man20 is seriously deformed psychologically. As he wrote in The Social Contract, social life and social interaction create the appropriate conditions out of which an “etre intelligent et un homme” can develop out of the natural “animal stupide et borne,” but at the same time feelings like envy, hate, and resentment gain power over man and he enters into rivalry with his fellowmen, all of whom he would like to surpass. His natural “self love”21 transforms itself into egotism and selfishness (amour-propre), and man forgets to esteem himself from any position except from the viewpoint of others; his self-definition comes to depend upon his socialization.22 How could an adult, self-alienated and deformed by such a process, educate children or be able to protect them from similar deformation?23

For Rousseau, it seems only too obvious that education cannot succeed if the three teachers of man don’t agree and work in harmony with one another. Of the three teachers, we cannot control nature at all and we can control things only to a limited degree (for example, how we arrange them for particular experiences of the child). Because we cannot control them at all (or only with great difficulty), only the reverse remains: we must submit ourselves to the dictates of nature and educate according to its laws. For the educator, this means—and at this point Rousseau’s list of criteria become plausible—that he must be ready and able to follow the lead of things and especially to follow the lead of nature (of the child). The less formed a teacher’s personality is, the less he will want to do to the child. This less “formed” teacher will more likely keep himself out of education (and it wouldn’t matter if it were due to his lack of intelligence or lack of education); therefore, it would be less dangerous to trust such a teacher with a child, if we must or even desire to do so.

Therefore, behind the recommendations in Rousseau’s letter, which at first glance appears so arbitrary, the systematic basis of his pedagogy becomes transparent: the idea of natural development—in the forward of Emile it was simply called “way of nature.” This basis, as Martin Rang so beautifully showed it, consists of uncovering the laws which are operating in the succession of the stages of growth and of determining the educational steps appropriate for the structure of these stages; it is actually the end and purpose of all theoretical pedagogy to discover these. Among other things, this view shows that the psychological structure of the child and of the adolescent makes particular steps in an individual’s education necessary; such a notion out of developmental psychology is well known to us and has its ancestral home in Rousseau. This concept of psychological sequence was raised to a normative principle before it became a pedagogical principle. Again as Martin Rang has made it so clear, this happened when Rousseau:

...above and beyond this, also claimed that only this psychologically determined path of development corresponds to the unadulterated nature of man and was therefore ‘good.’ Only after this, did the idea of natural development become the catalyst of cultural criticism and ethics.24

Almost by necessity: when a psychological view is interwoven with a concept of normative stages we are led to a “psychologization” of pedagogical thought:

It is essential to the idea of natural development that the psychological issues also become central and move straight into pedagogical consciousness. The relationship of pedagogy and psychology therefore appears to be similar to that of technology and science: in order to be able to control natural processes man must know its laws. If the processes themselves were haphazard or if its laws were unknown to us, then we are powerless over them.25

For Rousseau, of course, the statement about educational power requires immediate clarification. If the natural development of man is declared to be a pedagogical norm, then education cannot mean a powerful intervention and certainly not the steering of this path of nature. In any case, under no circumstances could education pertain to ideals which are externally imposed or to objectives which are externally set. At most, education means only a more or less cautious and always indirect support and preparation, whereby the path of nature can reach its highest perfection, its purest portrayal,26 its most unspoiled unity and whereby man can attain perfect happiness.27

In  reading  Emile,  perhaps  some  would  be  thoroughly  displeased that Rousseau does not empirically describe this path of nature—he only illustrates it with a wealth of concrete and detailed recommendations. Not only this but, for Rousseau, his own personal experience as an educator played no great role; it seems quite notable that he drew the most bankrupt results from his activity as educator to the family de Mably of Lyon; he certainly gained more from this education than either of his two pupils.28 For him, Rousseau’s pedagogical epitome of the natural man was certainly not a mere romantic ideal nor an idealistic delusion, it was a principle from which all education begins and toward which all the steps and stages of its process are directed. But even though natural education or—as we could also say, education through nature—represents a lawfulness of existence, this lawfulness is not forced at all in the same way as other necessities of nature are forced. Instead, Rousseau is completely justified when he speaks about degeneration because the lawfulness of nature expressly includes the possibility of straying from the path and of defective development, i.e., deviations, which then threaten the very essence of man. Man is not only a perfectible animal, he is also corruptible.29 When Maria Montessori, the loyal disciple of natural education in the spirit of Rousseau, transformed the concept of normalization into a basic educational principle, the point was not to describe abnormal or normal children as they have been empirically found. Instead—just as Rousseau had believed in opposition to the facts—she sketched the picture of the unspoiled and normal nature of the child which, opposing the existing educational realities, could become the principle and guide of all education.30

Returning to the question of the role of the teacher or educator, we can say at this point that from this perspective one could become a teacher or educator only to the extent to which he or she is humbly ready and able to become a helper of nature and a servant to the natural development of the child. In other words, the teacher restricts her activity to those of carefully observing and thoroughly studying the natural learning and development needs of the child or adolescent, in order to be able to provide and so arrange the things in the child’s surroundings that at any given moment the pupil happily enjoys the present and at the same time is furthered in his natural development. The main emphasis, of course, is on the happiness of the present, for an education which sacrifices the present for an uncertain future (as stated in Emile) is curtly branded as a barbarian education because it “loads a child with all chains of every sort, and begins by making him miserable in order to prepare for him, long in advance, some pretended happiness which it is probable he will never enjoy.”31

Rousseauism has saturated and affected Western thought again and again, particularly political and pedagogical thought. It is founded upon his basic pedagogical notion of natural development and his revolt against a culture-saturated, over-civilized society. This nature-optimistic belief and this society-pessimistic revolt stands opposed to anything which alienates man from himself or which transforms him into a versatile “citizen,” whose value like the numerator of a fraction “depends on its denominator; his value depends upon the whole, that is, on the community.”32 All of our scientific efforts in education since Rousseau’s time have not dismissed his articulation of the “yearning to unload oneself from all of the pains of knowledge, to shake from oneself all of the burdens and pomp of knowledge, in order to find the way back to the path of the natural and simple form of existence.”33 And even though it is often unrecognized, “most of our critiques of culture are nothing more than third or fourth waves of Rousseauism, not only in some views but even in the basic tenets.”34

Certainly the respective popularity of Rousseau’s thoughts also depends on historical realities, thus Rousseauism flourishes especially well whenever a culture or civilization (or even science) has seemed to have exhausted its own possibilities and then, empty of life, threatens to rigidify. But above and beyond this, the impetus for a nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic view—independent of history—is fed by a subversive attitude about culture. While “normally” we esteem someone or something even more highly the more cultivated it is, and while “usually” the intellectual achievements of man appear to us admirable precisely because they free us from raw nature or help us conquer it, Rousseau’s view reverses this standard. Rousseauism sees no merit in a departure from nature, rather, it interprets such removal from the natural as a deficiency or error; it does not see what is gained in the achievements of culture, civilization, or science, but only what is lost through them. As the crowning advocate of this “revolution” (instead of “culturedness”: naturalness or unspoiledness), Rousseau himself was very conscious that the “natural state,” about which the subsequent Rousseauists dream, neither exists now nor has it probably ever existed nor will it really ever exist.35 But in spite of this, the nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic way of thinking, inspired by Rousseau, constantly stands in danger of reifying this natural state, of taking it for its face value and of actually believing to be able to bring it about in education.

If we glance quickly at some particularly impressive manifestations of this view of a scientific education, then we find it arrayed in the most varied hues.

In William Wordsworth, the poet often referred to as “the English Rousseau,” we meet a “romantic” facet which is quite harmless.36 In his ode, “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Earliest Childhood” (1807), Wordsworth sketches a picture of the child in a completely nature-optimistic, society-pessimistic sense. Right off, traditional educational values (think of John Locke) are turned upside down in the motto presented at the beginning of the ode, “the child is father of the man.” The child is no longer considered a small unfinished adult which should be immediately led into and made a part of its culture by the hand of the adult, and which is “raised” in this way to the full stature of a human being. Instead, it is precisely the reverse; the child is seen as a perfect person and its path to adulthood is interpreted as a deterioration which takes place from birth on: an increasing drift from a divine origin, from nature, and its healing message. “Heaven lies about us in our infancy, Shades of the prison-house begin to close upon the growing boy.”37

Using the metaphor of light, Wordsworth describes the way of the child out of the light-filled heaven of the divine nature into the darkness of the earthly prison; finally this illuminated brightness pales for the adults who are further and further removed from this origin until it finally dies out of the man completely “into the light of common day.” For Wordsworth, the child appears to be the best philosopher, a powerful prophet, a blessed seer. Therefore it represents the greatest pedagogical presumptiveness when educators imagine they could and should decide how a child should be raised. Only nature itself can be the actual guide of the child, and it alone can bring real knowledge of the world; the adult’s rational analytical ways of thinking can lead the child only into error. This is stated in Wordsworth’s long poem, The Prelude: “For this unnatural growth the trainer blame, Pity the tree. —Poor human vanity.”38 Education has to begin from the (natural) interests of the child and must follow only the voice of nature which pronounces the sequence of the child’s interests and needs, according to its laws. As with Rousseau, it is not the teacher, and certainly not books, which form the child, but an interaction with nature.

Such romantic, or better, romanticized views of the child and of natural education are also found in  the  sweeping  stream  of  pedagogical Neo-rousseauism which in German is usually referred to as “Reformpädagogik” (in the U.S., it might be referred to as child- centered or alternative education). Following Herman Nohl’s representation and interpretation of this trend,39 some view this primarily as a result of that “German movement”40 deployed in an emotional era of anti-enlightenment. In the process, they over-emphasize its romantic influence, or even regard its irrational offshoots to be its main characteristic.41 In addition, because it is so regularly understood as a counter reaction against the scientistic pedagogy and instructional doctrines of Herbart, for a long time, the strong scientific impetus of this movement has been overlooked or at least very much underestimated.

From Rousseau, alternative education movements have not only inherited the romanticized hallowed aura and quasi-idolization of the child, they have also entirely accepted the scientific view of natural development as the starting point for a science of education. For no matter how much some representatives of this reform movement in education claim to act anti-scientifically, and especially hostile to theory, their claims can be easily refuted. If we consider the issue more precisely and do not allow ourselves to be deceived by superficial appearances, their theoretical presuppositions become obvious. At the top of their lungs, they always appeal to “experience”—precisely an experience with true nature as it is completely revealed by the child with its immanent laws of development. If they did not theoretically presuppose, entirely in the spirit of Rousseau, a normal order of development and in particular, if they did not presuppose that this order was empirically revealed by children, they could not even speak of this “experience,” let alone could they then begin from it.

Thus, for example, Maria Montessori, one of the central figures of the Rousseauistic educational movement, in a little known article of 1915 under the title, “Whenever Science Enters the School,”42 wrote with unsurpassable clarity that a science of education would only be possible if, through observation and exact study of the natural development of the child, we were prepared to search out the laws which could provide us the measures to further the child’s educational development. It was only because of the presupposed idea of normal development understood as a normative concept of order that it was possible for Montessori to reformulate Wordsworth’s basic statement: “The child is the father of mankind.” And it was only because of this idea that Montessori could sensibly and tirelessly attempt to hammer into the adult that he must not educate the child, but must allow the child to teach him. It is the child which will “reveal” the laws of its natural development and how the adult should “educate” it. Of course, such “educating” can only mean, to facilitate and to support the child’s natural development (in Montessori’s words: the unfolding of its “immanent blueprint”) as well as to remove the barriers out of the path which could stand in the way of this “normal” development.43

With countless examples scattered throughout her works, Montessori demonstrates again and again the structure of this possible science. Referring to the “symptoms” of abnormality, deviations from normal development are determined; in a careful and complex “diagnosis,” the barriers are located which have caused this deviation; and a precise “therapy” removes these causes and the powers of natural development (Montessori calls them Hormé) are once again set free. Montessori’s own revised profession as vis medicatrix naturae not only directs our view toward medicine, but—and with this it stands as a paradigm for a predominantly large part of the New Education Movement and its legitimate offspring Anti-pädagogik and alternative education—it gives pedagogy a fundamentally medical-therapeutic structure.44

It is only from the background of Rousseau’s normative idea of natural development that the enthusiasm and praise of the child can be understood. Around the turn of the century authors like Ellen Key raised a furor about this position, and today it has once again regained popular significance through writers of the caliber of an Alice Miller. Eventually, one must agree with Ludwig Gurlitt, when he—removing this naturalism from any critique—laconically states: “Where the original laws of nature speak, there the earthly judge should remain silent and be content.”45 Obviously, Gurlitt was thoroughly conscious of the implications for a science of education, for in his Erziehungslehre it states:

Our new procedures of education must also have a new name. If it did not arouse the suspicion that once again a scientific system would be predicted, I would call it a natural science. But it does not pertain to this, it pertains to an education which will follow nature and give nature her rights.

The goals of new education should be “that the development of each individual can be freely formed according to his nature and within the great streams of national and human development.”46 And the spirit of Rousseau, which speaks from this position, becomes perfectly clear, if one reads a few lines further:

Whosoever learns to consider the child as the bearer of an unending development, as the final end, the sum of unforeseeable powers stretching from the present to the most distant future, and whosoever views this complete structure with a holy awe, as for example when one feels he is a much less significant creation in the presence of a human structure such as the Parthenon or the cathedral in Cologne, whosoever thereby realizes that for millions of years the creating and shaping spirit in nature has been erecting and building in order finally to call this masterpiece to life; he will let his hands drop in speechless admiration and if he still has in himself a spark of genuine godliness, will stand in worshipful adoration before this miracle of creation. He will particularly abstain from all value judgments, and will not speak immediately of sins, of good and evil, of low quality, decadent, or inferior, but will first wait, standing by observantly, in order to learn about the gift nature had given him in this new creation.47

The virtual gospel of the doctrines of naturalistic education are found in Ellen Key’s truly epoch-making book, The Century of the Child,48 a book about which Friedrich Paulsen said that it was more a “mixture of well-intended triviality, undigested excerpts from all fashions, of unbridled arrogance and opinion with comments in between of a healthy understanding of man.”49 Key declared, “allowing nature quietly and slowly to help itself, taking care only that the surrounding conditions help the work of nature. This is education.”50 And thus this Swedish elementary school teacher can add in one breath that the greatest pedagogical crime would therefore be to refuse to leave the child in peace and to want to educate it. In a praised review of this book, Rainer Maria Rilke,51 closely related in thought to Ellen Key, has characterized this honored respect for the individual child as the standard by which men of this century will some day be measured.52

The praises of nature were sung by another tremendously successful author at the turn of the century and today’s advocates of alternative education along with all naturalistic enthusiasts join in. As confused as it was filled with prophetic claim, Julius Langbehn’s book, Rembrandt as Educator, saw its hundredth edition in only a few years. In it, repeating the well known theme of Rousseau, he praises nature’s superiority to culture:

Being surrounded by culture tends to darken nature. Here it means: Honor the queen! The given nature of man is unchangeable. Its powers can be curtailed, can be polished—but the nature remains. God has created the spirit of nature. Nature, if purely preserved, is therefore of God. There is no filth in nature; it was first dragged in by man. Unadulterated nature is always pure, unspoiled nature is always holy.53

Out of these thoughts an educational approach grew which is characteristic both of progressive education of the first half of the century as well as of “Antipädagogik” and alternative education of the second half. This approach proclaims: do not develop an educational system nor educational principles, but rather develop the child himself, i.e., allow him to develop.54 All education—and this is not merely a slogan—occurs within the child (“vom Kinde aus”). The pedagogical maxims are to allow growth, “observe and wait but don’t intervene,”55 let the child unfold his creative powers, tend the “young plants”56 and always feel like their gentle gardener. Child-friendly becomes an emblem, which signifies a contrast to the corrupt and child-alienating society of the adult; it is thereby taken for granted “that child-friendly parents do not think and act pedagogically.”57 The model is no longer the “good” mother (who responsibly directs the educational process of the child through the carefully considered balance of protective, supportive and reactive measures),58 but rather the “nice” mother (because she accompanies the child like a companion or partner and not like an educator). It follows almost self-evidently that pedagogical authority would be distorted into a caricature and then would be uncompromisingly rejected. On the other hand, in an emotional naivete, they don’t hesitate to speak of an “authority of the infant”59 and to proclaim the educational dictates of the child above those of his educator.

If education or the teacher-student relationship is still spoken of at all, then it is always done so in the naturalistic metaphor of the gardener, who tends and cares for the growth of the child from the seed to the flourishing plant. Perhaps it may also be considered in the sense of the animal lover, who nurses the small baby lion and attentively and protectingly tracks the “lionization” of the young lion. Teaching or educating, as a historically “vastly over-rated function,”60 is replaced by encouraging; and this encouragement is seen to be possible and promising only if the facilitator is fully committed, “genuinely and authentically, i.e., if he truly involves himself in the educational process,”61 no matter how many vague irrationalisms or how much extra emotional baggage may be hidden in the words “involves himself.”

In her medical view of education, Montessori, as well as other educational reformers (e.g., Ovide Decroly), set out to reinterpret education as therapy and to transform the teacher-student relationship once and for all into a therapeutic one. This finds its logical peak in modern alternative education (Antipädagogik)—one need only think of Alice Miller, Maud Mannoni, Eckehard von Braunmühl or Hubertus von Schenebeck—and it becomes easy to understand, that this therapeutic education (Antipädagogik) fears nothing more than the possibility of once again becoming “educational.”62 But to surrender what is educational can only be purchased at a very high price; likewise, it is very expensive to transform pedagogy into therapy. In the process of installing the therapeutic model, the nature-optimistic element of Rousseau’s approach is over-accentuated or even held to be absolute. However, to the extent to which this occurs, the society-critical element is lost and this therapeutic “pedagogy”—it actually however no longer deserves the name—becomes increasingly unpolitical and “socially abstinent.” In the end it adopts a shameful political naivete and social simple-mindedness.

At this point of our thoughts, it is time to interrupt the explanation and characterization of this position in order to ask if it is right; that is, we must ask, whether a science of education, based on Rousseau, can be accepted without contradiction or whether it can be pedagogically justified. With this question, we will limit ourselves to four objections which necessarily will be presented in brevity.

1. An education which is based on the idea of natural development as a concept of normal stages and which claims to give education instructions and guidelines which have been scientifically established faces the problem of how to utilize these stages concretely. It is not enough to counsel the educator to observe the child, we need to know as precisely as possible what exactly about the child should be observed and by what external evidence this inner order supposedly becomes visible. But from the time of Rousseau to today, the evidence to which one refers has hardly changed at all and in spite of all the psychological research since then, it is only slightly more precise and in the end appears as unsuitable now as it was then. Whenever the child is transformed into a measurement for the purpose of education or whenever one advocates an education according to nature, i.e., according to the nature of the child, reference is made to the “natural” interests, the “true” needs, the “root” drives, the “real” inclinations, the “instinctive” security of the child. Whenever a child-centered education,63 a school of measurement (of the child),64 or individualization as a principle of instruction is spoken of, attention is turned to these supposed expressions of the presumed nature of the individual child.

As plausible and reasonable as this reference to drives, inclinations, needs, and interests may appear at first glance, with a little reflection, considerable doubts arise. The first of these doubts arises from psychology itself, the very area where the reference to drives, inclinations, needs, and interests should actually find a solid basis. There is no one single doctrine of drives or interest theory, no one listing of inclinations or hierarchy of needs which is not immediately followed by an entire series of contradictory teachings. Not only is this true, but the battle will have no end when one asks what really pertains to the attributes “true,” “real,” “root,” and especially “natural,” or which inclination, which interest, which drive, and which need befits this characterization. With regard to “drives,” the respected psychologist, Theo Herrmann, points out the fact that empirically, the basic existence of elementary drives is completely unprovable. Because the competing teachings of drives can be endlessly placed side by side anyway, he drew the conclusion that it is better to refrain from the discussion of needs completely because such assumptions are so much at the mercy of personal capriciousness.65 At most, what appears settled with any description of the “true,” “real,” and “natural” needs and interests, however, is that we “believe” them, but cannot know whether they are actually the true ones.

From this doubt arises another, which is much more serious. The great variety of opposing views about what then the actual drives, inclinations, needs, and interests are makes us aware that none of them pertain to psychological facts which are accessible to a positivistic-empirical view. Rather, they are scientific constructs and models of explanation similar to the concept of aggression which serves as a model of explanation for human behavior (and correspondingly there are various and also contradictory theories of aggression). However, if such scientific constructs and models of explanation are taken for granted and declared to be a point of orientation or even assumed to be a basis for education (which is most common in a claim to establish a science of education), then the question arises whether, in the process, we don’t commit a fundamental error from which, if possible, we should be protected, the error of objectification, i.e., treating everything as mere objects.

A third doubt arises when we begin to test whether drives, inclinations, needs, and interests can be considered as a mathematical basis (in the form of a trigonometry) for an educational orientation or for educational measures. In doing this, it becomes clear very quickly—and this insight is considerably perplexing—that an undifferentiated discussion of needs and interests does not touch the pedagogical question. It is obvious, and daily experience, both historical and personal, demonstrates that not all inclinations and drives of man are equally good. Therefore they are not all deserving support. Not all of man’s needs and interests are equally important; therefore, not all are equally worthy of being satisfied. A fundamental question for pedagogy, then, becomes: Which drives and needs, which inclinations and interests should be supported, and likewise, which should be diminished? The teachings of natural education, however, with their naked reference to needs and interests are not only unprepared to provide tangible criteria for this question, such thinking can never answer it. This position cannot avoid the point which one of the progenitors of German pedagogy acquired as unshakable knowledge: “that there can be no sure basis for our theory, if we don’t return to the conflict between good and evil.”66

2. Every child-centered pedagogy and every naturalistic attempt at educational theory culminates in the thesis that the hidden (i.e., suppressed) nature of the child must be assisted to a breakthrough. To do this the child must be liberated from his accustomed and forced passivity and “activated,” moved to activity. Among the pedagogical slogans is proclaimed: “activate the child,” “liberate their thirst for activity,” “unfold their creative powers,” “educate through and for work and correspondingly, arrange a work-school (Arbeitschule)”—Ferriére calls it an école active—which motivates the child to activity. However, if the alternative were really so simple—either passive or active, receiving or doing by oneself, without wasting time, any auctioneer would conclude the bidding with the second offer. But then the actual pedagogical questions present themselves: Does all doing, every activity, or any production at all represent an educational value in itself? Don’t we need to go beyond this arbitrary standard of busyness and examine whether the child’s doing aims at something good, right, positive, commendable, beautiful, and desirable, or whether it is directed toward something bad, wrong, negative, reprehensible, ugly, or abhorrent?

In his profound critique of activism,67 the Swiss educator Eugene Dévaud has posed this very question.68 We are already familiar with one of the critical distinctions which Dévaud makes of an undifferentiated activism: the difference between “doing” and “making.” Based on this distinction, he argues that the bulk of such activity amounts to no more than an empty and false “activism” of making. Most of what a student in the active school “makes”—products of paper and wood, drawings, compositions, problem-solving, etc.—is certainly not really made for the sake of the product itself, but is done for the sake of unfolding one of the child’s gifts, to satisfy a child’s need (e.g., that of activeness), or to fulfill a child’s interest. Dévaud accuses this active school of being empty; at least, most of the child’s activity is exercised in emptiness; often the product of such exercise is coincidental or based on mere preference. Rather than doing that which the educator actually should do, to ignite the child’s love for something, facilitator of activity merely unfolds their tendencies or spurs their interest, without pointing them in an appropriate direction.69 Shrewd activists like Ferriére should have recognized this fault of the école active and should have defended the motto of sublimating the passions in favor of individual or social ideals. A truly active school could not be content with mere “making”; it could not remain indifferent to the products made nor could it be satisfied with a meaningless “making.” Rather, an active education must focus on “doing” and must correctly prioritize it above “making”:

In the narrower sense of the word, ‘doing’ means the activity of man with regard to his final aim, that is, drawing nearer to it or farther from it; in the wider sense of the word, ‘doing’ signifies the activity which leads to the perfection of the individual human being.70

An education for doing cannot be content merely to activate the child’s drives, inclinations, interests, and needs; it must point them in an appropriate direction and present well-founded standards.71 Therefore, in an education for doing, inclinations and interests, needs and drives are not the most basic concepts of pedagogy because, at best, these can lead only to a sublimated egoism.72 In their place emerge concepts like personal mission (Berufung),73 obligation, value, commitment, decision, and freedom.

One of the spiritual founders of activism, Edouard Claparède, who was also a passionate advocate of a “psychologization” of pedagogy, presents a theory of education which even tries to transform aimlessness and lack of direction into a pedagogical virtue. From the fact that there is no general consensus about educational aims—a reality which astonishes no serious pedagogical thinker in the least—Claparède draws the strange conclusion that there could therefore never be a science of education, unless it more fully abstains from questions regarding the aims of education and limits itself exclusively to theories which are functional.74 In his functional view of education, no role is allowed for purposes of the educational enterprise. He astoundingly maintains that the manner of instructing and educating, to a large degree (at least he makes this concession), is independent from the subject matter and the aims of education in exactly the same way that the manner of kneading the dough is completely independent from the form which one wants to give the bread.75 As one of the followers of Claparède, Raymond Buyse later argued that the science of education should concern itself only with how to improve the methods with which the child’s abilities are most effectively developed. In the school, then, a teacher should apply these methods  without  becoming encumbered by the question of whether the student, whose abilities of reading and writing he is helping to unfold, will use these skills to become a refined author or a vulgar pornographer.76

3. In his 1925 address in Heidelberg, Martin Buber presented a third criticism, one related to the second, at the “Third Internationalen Pädagogischen Konferenz” whose theme was “Unfolding the Creative Powers in the Child.”77 Buber shocked the representatives of the New Education Fellowship gathered in Heidelberg when he began his paper with the declaration that of the seven words in the theme of the Congress, only the last two seemed unquestionable. With this, he did not want to deny the existence of creative powers in the child or of an insatiable urge to make things and to produce something new. Recognizing the child’s independence and indivertability, Buber called this urge the “Creator drive” (Urhebertrieb). However, what he meant by this was to show that this creator drive is characterized by a one-sided process, directed towards a productive action: a power emerges from the person, imagines something, and is completed in a concrete product. This movement runs in a linear manner and in one direction—“from the dream of the heart into the world”—and the creative human as an originator remains lonely. To win the admiration of others for his accomplishments cannot even lead him out of this loneliness. Only the experience of belonging in the work community, becoming a “thou” (Dusagens—the familiar form of the German language used only with one’s closest friends and family), can save him from the solitariness in which this isolated creator drive places him.

Only if someone takes him by the hand, not as a ‘creator,’ but as a fellow creature lost in the world, to be a companion, friend, loved-one, in spite of his skills, does he become interconnected from within and as a part of others. An education based on the training of the creator drive alone would prepare a new and most painful loneliness for man.78

He then presented his view to the educational reformers there assembled, which has since become famous, that in opposition to an older authoritarian education, they only wanted to substitute the symbol of the pump for that of the funnel. However, neither symbol could correctly represent educational reality. What was really important was not only to reverse the direction of educational trends, but also that which made up the heart of the student-teacher relationship. This is the bond of the dialogue between the educator and his pupil, a bond between “I” and “thou” which is more than the mere juxtaposition of individuals driven by the creator urge or the relationship between a creatively unfolding child and an adult who observes, describes, and predicts the process of his development. Even if Buber’s words seem highly academic, they strike the very core of what it means to understand the teacher-student relationship as one which is thoroughly based on dialogue:

Trust, trust the world, because others exist—that is the innermost work of the educational relationship. Because others exist, absurdity cannot be the true truth, no matter how hard it forces itself. Because others exist, the light is certainly hidden in the darkness, salvation is hidden in horror, great love is hidden in the dullness of coexistence.79

4. Another criticism comes to light if we examine the element of time in education. This argument defines education as the progression from one state in time to another and was well known when Herbart argued against Kant in establishing the foundation for pedagogy as an independent scientific discipline.80 Herbart also believed that the future man must be represented to the boy by the educator. In his lectures on pedagogy of 1826, Schleiermacher discussed the many ramifications of the dialectic between the present and the future. If this essential tension is not constantly revisualized, we will fall behind this position of pedagogical consciousness. The business of education is continuously stretched between the two extreme poles: on the one side, to direct itself to the future of the pupil and to sacrifice the present for the preparation of this future; on the other side, to confine itself completely to fulfilling present needs, thereby forgetting the future. Even though Rousseau kept this dialectic in mind, nevertheless, his pedagogy contains the danger of limiting itself too heavily to the satisfaction of the moment and to the satiation of present needs; Rousseauism drags this danger with it as a heavy burden and is constantly threatened by the possibility of becoming its victim.

Boyd H. Bode, one of the promoters of the progressive education movement in the United States, has formulated this in its pedagogical quintessence: “Whatever else we may say about it, then, education is a process of growth; it means a liberation of capacity.”81 This is only a slight variation from the credo of Bode’s teacher, John Dewey, for whom education was not to prepare for life, but was life itself. After Dewey assigned education the task of developing the child’s powers and of steering them toward social aims, he categorically stated in his article, “My Pedagogical Creed”: “I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”82 Similarly, the Rousseauism of the alternative education movements and modern Antipädagogik tends to avoid directing education and schooling toward the future (of the child), but to concentrate on the present. Kurt Zeidler, who was otherwise well aware of the limits of this type of pedagogical reform, most decisively expressed:

But just as youth as a whole must not be made subservient to age, so it is also with the school. It exists for no one else except the young people themselves and has no other task except to be suitable for their present needs, not for those which they may perhaps have in ten or twenty years. The school is not a means, but an end in itself, not a tiresome point-on-the-way-to, but a fulfillment.83

As partially justified as such a thesis may be, it will forfeit its own educational meaning if, in retaliation, it polemically opposes an education or schooling which is merely directed at the future, or if it aims to eradicate any teleological aspect from education. This loss of meaning occurs whenever the educator fails to see himself as a responsible leader of children, but rather becomes like their playmate and infantile companion.84 Such a position of refusing to set any aim in education, supposing aims to be directed against the nature of children, is a false abstinence, which does not uncover the essence of education, but in the last consequence empties and denatures it. “Nur Schinder erziehen Kinder” [“Only slave drivers educate children”—actually a Schinder is someone who buys and slaughters worn-out horses to sell their flesh for dog food] may today be an effective slogan with the public; but it would be no less foolish if it were proclaimed by mouths all over the world.

What Jakob R. Schmid in 1936 wrote about the educational reformers of his time in Hamburg, might well have been written just yesterday about our contemporary “Antipädagogen.” For them, the child is the only firm starting point; the only law in which they are interested is the free development of the self—of the individual child:

Within the parameters of this view, there is no place for an educator who represents an objective world of purposes or aims. The only task the educator has is to facilitate the free, undirected development of the child. At best, he can dress himself in the role of a leader who, to a certain extent, walks ahead of individual development in order to clear its path. But he must always be conscious that he is only to be the loyal interpreter of this development and must continuously guard against the temptation to influence the child even in the slightest. He is only able to do this because of his familiarity, even his identification, with the spirit of the child which is based in a sense of common-belonging to a community; this binds him with the child and manifests itself in a particular external equality.85

It is not necessary to be too critical of this child-friendliness, even when the sweet portrait of the child is nauseatingly reminiscent of the old pictures of the saints, but we must draw the line distinctly when this educational libertinism is raised to the idol of an illusory subjectivism.86 And this occurs whenever education is peeled from its socio-political and religious-cultural foundation, whenever the educational process is out of touch with the world and transfigured into a “molecular” relationship (to use a word of Antonio Gramsci) or whenever the loving embrace of the educator and child is stylized into the deification of a completed education. Even if the reality of education, which is always fraught with polar tension and which is tied to contradictions which cannot be unraveled, is not always represented in these one-dimensional and oversimplified pictures, nevertheless, if the veil is removed, the origin of this position is exposed in a nostalgic yearning for innocence or in a rousseauistic mistrust of the adult of a culture; it emerges as a pseudo-religious sentimentalization of childhood.

The irrationalism and the naivete of such a standpoint has scarcely been pointed out so bluntly as by Heinz-Joachim Heydorn. Whether it is expressed in the emblematic language of Ellen Key, whether offered in the benevolent English theorylessness of an Alexander Neill, whether sung in the biological tones in praise of the natural instincts of man, whether in connection with a statistical positivism which lays the noose of manipulation around the neck of the nature of the child:

Will to live, enheightenment of life are the natural categories, voluntarism removes the old systems of consciousness, with Darwin it carries us halfway into the primeval forest. The artificial worlds of the intellect are dismissed, man is no longer an essence of his own; he is simply nature, even though he is decorated in the ornament of an Art Nouveau. The theme of educational reform becomes a friendly doctrine of hand-woven creativity which ignores real conditions. Mankind must merely be set free to himself, as though there had been no previous history; this naive claim considers reflection to be rape. In truth, society relinquishes the achieved content of its own civilization.87

Nature-pessimistic, Society-optimistic Science of Education

While romanticism for the nature-optimistic, society-critical variety of educational theory seems unavoidable, its counterpart, the nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic variety, should actually be insusceptible to it. Rather, it begins from a basic mistrust of undomesticated human nature and wants to forearm itself against no other danger as much as against the relapse into a crude individualism. For this position, “raw” human nature, individual inclinations, interests, drives, or needs could not be the focal point nor could they even gain a normative power. Its education could never dream of allowing a healthy human nature to bloom and germinate on its own; it cannot relinquish to the primitive stages of the child’s not-yet-socialized life or leave itself in the hands of such unpardonable throw-backs. Instead, it directs its attention to the process of socialization: how untamed and wild human nature is harnessed and brought into the pasture of orderly human social life, how instinctive and diverse individual interests can be channeled, and how the subjective inclinations and needs can be subordinated to collective expectations and requirements. In order to be able to “control” the processes occurring in education and to “steer them according to our wishes and needs,” it is proposed that we carefully investigate the external causes which determine the formation of the social man. It then becomes possible for us “to apply” this operational knowledge. The education of man is seen as the product of society which we can then cause.

The following citation is taken from a text very fundamental for our study and which, therefore, will begin our discussion. It speaks, of course, a language which is not so down to earth and functional as might be expected—especially in contrast to some of the praises of the naturalists. In the text, it states:

We are indebted to the society for our dominion over the things which determine a part of our greatness. It is that, which frees us from nature. Isn’t it self-evident, then, that we present it as a psychological essence which overlays ours and out of which ours emerges? Correspondingly, it is self-explanatory that we reverently bow before it when it demands that sacrifice, small or great, which forms our morality. The believer bows before God because his being, particularly his spiritual being, his soul, seems to originate from God. From the same basis, we foster such a feeling toward the collectivity.88

The text is taken from Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of modern sociology, and it may be no small surprise to some that here we find a similar idolization of society as was just seen with regard to nature. Just  as  Rousseau  can  undoubtedly  be  called  the  apostle of  “educa- tion as the  product  of nature,” so Emile Durkheim may be characterized as the spiritual father of “education as the product of society”; at least, he thought this notion  most  fittingly to its end and tried to give it a sociological-pedagogical basis. Therefore, we must examine Durkheim’s foundation—of course, necessarily in brief—in order to see if it is an appropriate foundation for articulating a pedagogy which suits the being and dignity of the human person.

The first point, and most interesting for our purposes, is to refer to the manner in which Durkheim sought to explain the originality of sociological thinking.89 He began by looking for a characteristic object of this science; and he found the object in that which he called sociological facts—laws, morals, religions, etc. As a strict positivist, he believed that sociology could be a new instrument integrated into the orchestra of the other sciences only if it (true to the pattern of natural science) investigated “facts” and if it handled the facts of society as things.

For Durkheim, the most respected of these choses sociales, was the conscience collective, the so-called collective social consciousness. This was the social fact which represented the highest requirement of all social phenomena, and it is only from this fact that Durkheim’s science of education can be understood.90 Durkheim argues that social facts are “in a certain sense, independent from the individuals”91 in a similar way that psychologists have observed that individuals’ ideas should be separated from their physical substrata, the brain cells. If these ideas really exist at all as such, they “continue to exist through themselves, their existence therefore does not continuously depend on the condition of nerve centers”:

The ideas which are the threads of social life, break themselves away from the relationships which are placed between the individuals united in this way or even the secondary groups, which place themselves between the individual and the entire society.92

While psychological facts (on whose investigation psychology is based and which establish its scientific status) still carry in themselves visible signs of their origin in the brain cells, the independence of social facts for Durkheim is more obvious and therefore indisputable. Social phenomena such as the contents of belief, religious customs, rules of morality, legal rights, etc., which Durkheim sees as the most characteristic evidence of collective life, impose themselves on the individual with such a claim of validity and with such an obliging character that they—which for Durkheim appears beyond all doubt—could never be produced by the individual alone:

They are of an expressly obligatory nature; the obligation is the evidence, however, that these types of acting and thinking are not the result of the individual, but originate from a power which goes beyond him, be it mystically conceived in the form of a God or made by them into a more temporal and scientific concept.93

The origin of these social phenomena is attached to collective consciousness in a type of chemical synthesis. But more importantly, Durkheim granted the collective consciousness a preeminence over all individual habits of thought, inclinations, and tendencies. He wrote: “It is this aggregate, which thinks, feels, wants, and is at the same time the only means by which the individual consciousness can want, feel, or act.”94 In addition, he also gives this collective consciousness the same normative nature that Rousseau awarded to the idea of natural development. The individual appears to be only the “raw material” of social consciousness; the social facts, on the other hand, seem to be the manifestations of that higher entity, the collective consciousness. Theodor W. Adorno aptly summarized Durkheim’s normative position when he wrote:

Durkheim accepts the values collectively sanctioned, equates their collectivity with their objectivity and in the process, dismisses the possibility of their morality.95

The corresponding sentence for Durkheim reads: “a judgment therefore, will be objective, only if it is collective.”96

In fact, Durkheim denied any morality which did not have its origin in society, and with this, he even went a step further, adding:

...that, wherever a morality exists, it can have as its goal only the educated group of a plurality of associated individuals, that is, the society, under the presupposition, of course, that the society can be viewed as a person, qualitatively distinguishes itself from the individuals out of which it is composed.

And a little later in the same text, it is even further intensified:

The assertion is nevertheless firmly held, no other morality can ever be wanted than that which the social circumstances of the time require. To want another morality than the one inherent in the nature of the society, means to deny the society and therefore to deny oneself.97

For Durkheim, that which morally binds us to our neighbor cannot be found in empirical individuality, nor can it lie anchored, for example, in the Christian ideal of the love of one’s neighbor or in the humanitarian idea of solidarity; this altruistic obligation to others is the only “higher purpose, whose servant and instrument we are.”98 For Durkheim, however, the collectivity not only represented the highest and only moral authority, it was also that which made man human:

...for man is man, only to the extent that he is civilized. That which makes us truly human is only that which enables us to learn from that totality of ideas, feelings, beliefs, and rules of behavior, which we call civilization.99

But before we try to understand the education which results from this view, it is yet necessary to refer to the concept of “sanction” which stands at the center of Durkheim’s morality. Similar to Dewey’s rejection of Kant’s ethics, which argued against anchoring them in the basic motives of action instead of grounding them on the socially relevant consequences of human action, Durkheim also opposed Kant’s ethics, but from a completely different argument. He did not oppose, as Dewey did, the Kantian motive-ethics with a pragmatic morality, rather, he actually removed the foundation of human morality by substituting the concept of collective “sanction” for the basic concept of the “autonomy” of the acting person.

In doing this, Durkheim expressly rejected the concept of natural punishment well known from a naturalistic morality and from a natural education—Rousseau gives many illustrative examples of it in Emile. He made it perfectly clear that his central ethical concept of sanction did not mean a consequence of an act which stemmed from the contents of the action, but solely whether or not “the action complies with the prevailing norms.”100 Durkheim, then, conclusively raised the socially sanctioned to the epitome of morality, even that socially sanctioned which, in Kantian terms, is dogmatically opposed to the individual and his consciousness. It follows then, that Durkheim instructs us to adapt our action according to this collective authority alone. He would emphatically advise that “we should guard ourselves against the intuitions of our personal conscience.”

It should be expected then, that Durkheim’s approach to educational inquiry was the result of construing sociology to be the “science of social facts.” He turned to education then as a social fact and he described and analyzed it as a social system in connection with the other social systems. He interpreted education as an empirical concept, i.e., a concept of education as it has been realized in history and society. For him, education throughout all epochs of time, including the present, was to be seen solely as a means of socializing the individual and of reproducing society. But from the outset, this approach avoids the critical question of whether it follows that just because education always was a particular way and even still is today, that therefore it should always be so. At any rate it appears that from the outset such an approach ignores the view of education which has been accumulated throughout the entire tradition of Western pedagogy as the self-realization of the human person. In the face of the norms of the collective, self-realization or fulfillment evaporates into a nothingness.

Durkheim rejected all psychological views of education—he characterized psychology as an “unfitting source for educators.” At most he allowed it the right to determine the means of education. In particular, he was strictly opposed to any conception which viewed education as the development of aptitudes or as the unfolding or realization of the natural man. For him, to see the child as the father of mankind seemed paradoxical, for it turned educational reality completely upside down. According to Durkheim, the object of education would be: superimpose, on the individual and asocial being that we are at birth, an entirely new being. It must bring us to overcome our initial nature; it is on this condition that the child will become a man.101

The man whom education should realize in us is not the man such as nature has made him, but as the society wishes him to be; and wishes him such as its internal economy calls for.102

And in another place he wrote even more distinctly:

Society finds itself, so to speak, with each new generation, faced with a tabula rasa, very nearly, on which it must build anew. To the egoistic and asocial being that has just been born it must, as rapidly as possible, add another, capable of leading a social and moral life. Such is the work of education, and you can readily see its great importance. It is not limited to developing the individual organism in the direction indicated by nature, to eliciting the hidden potentialities which need only be manifested. It creates in man a new being, and this man is made up of all the best in us, of all that gives value and dignity to life.103

What education thereby accomplishes and implants in the child, as its product, is first “a certain number of physical and mental states that the society to which he belongs considers should not be lacking in any of its members”; and second “certain physical and mental states that the particular social group (caste, class, family, profession) considers, equally, ought to be found among all those who make it up.”104 In order to sharpen it even further: Man becomes human after education makes him its product by shaping him to fit into the society as a whole as well as to the particular social milieu for which he is destined.

From this perspective, we might be inclined to reformulate Erasmus of Rotterdam’s famous epigram—homines non nascuntur sed finguntur (men are not born, but educated)—into Durkheim’s sense and say: homines non nascuntur, sed fabricantur (men are not born, but manufactured). Because of its clarity and conciseness, Durkheim’s classic definition of education deserves to be quoted directly:

Education is the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life. Its object is to arouse and to develop in the child a certain number of physical, intellectual and moral states which are demanded of him by both the political society as a whole and the special milieu for which he is specifically destined.105

Durkheim added a sentence to this definition in which he coined the concept which stands as an emblem of the Durkheimian tradition of educational thinking even today: “Education consists of a systematic socialization of the young generation.” It is thoroughly a social process and its product, the socialized subject, is the work of the society.

One final point still deserves our particular attention. Although Durkheim said that education has to create in man a new being, that is, to build a social being in him, it should not be misunderstood to mean that the individual should be entirely extinguished or sacrificed on the altar of the collective. Incorporating these collective norms and rules is the process of internalization, i.e., learning on the part of the individual. The sociological principle which is drawn from the tradition of Durkheim’s thought points out that it is social roles which are learned or internalized in this process. Out of the raw material which man represents at birth, a social being is molded. In this process the education of the younger generation consists of learning and internalizing social roles through systematic socialization. René König has summarized these basic ideas of Durkheim very succinctly:

As a role player, man becomes a social being. The success of socialization, therefore, lies in roles which decisively prioritize the ‘internalization’ of accepted norms and rules of behavior, even though these norms continually change in the course of history.106

From this perspective, the individual can be compared to the actor in the theater. On the stage, the actor does not present himself to us as a private person and we are not particularly interested in the person acting on the stage, but only in the “character” he embodies or the “role” which he plays in the context of the play. Likewise, in socialization, the individual does not appear as an acting person but as a “role-player that is, as a process whose function is determined by the social structure.”107

Here, we will not dispute the fact that this process of role-learning can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, nor will we overlook the fact that the original, rigid role theories have long since been modified; homo sociologicus which has been reduced from a self-alienated form of the mere role-player has been criticized many times and has been revealed to be an unreal homunculus. Socialization theory has greatly surpassed the conception of its spiritual father, Durkheim, and in particular, since 1968, Habermas’ critique of a one-dimensional concept of socialization has been further developed and refined. Habermas argues that today hardly anyone speaks of a rigid role-learning, which is coercively caused through sanctions, but rather how roles are interpreted (as the theater actor interprets a part in the play) and picked up is understood much more flexibly. In particular, how to play a role signifies not only a quasi-mechanical reproduction, but a performed interpretation, by the actor, of the role-actor in circumstances which are continuously changing. But in these descriptions, education as the product of society is still, with very few differences, identical to socialization; the basic idea remains the same. Thus what Ursula Coburn-Staege has said about a science of education, which flows out of this fundamental idea, is as applicable now as before:

For a pedagogy which understands itself as a science of action, the social-role, as a ‘category of orientation’ in the process of socialization, is of particular significance. For a normative role-concept, orientation appears as a conformity-focus—the tradition-guided (orientated to the traditional, the usual, the formerly produced), the present-guided (orientated to the modern, the Zeitgeist of current power relationships) or future-guided (orientated to the acknowledged possible). Education as the adoption of roles presumes to be capable of depicting normative ways of behaving. Through internalizing the established and unquestioned socio-cultural pattern of behavior, the motivation for reproducing the prevailing values and norms is assured. With the help of sanctions, the dispositions to perform particular behaviors are rigidly adopted in individual behavior. The individual adapts himself to the given system of roles and is thereby integrated into an existing socio-cultural system.108

Indeed, for a pedagogy based upon an action-science—more correctly we must say for a poietic science of education—which places social-roles as the focal point, it makes no essential difference whether the focus refers to roles in the present, the past, in tomorrow’s society or in a society projected for the future; it is possible to distinguish this model, if need be, into the conservative, the progressive, and the utopian versions. In all of these cases, the individual actually gains his humanness through becoming a part of the greater social whole and through his membership in social groups. Conversely, it is these social processes, i.e., the agents and agencies commissioned by society (consider the view which sees the school as an agency of socialization) which complete the social products of education.

To show the unbroken relevance of Durkheim’s thoughts, we can trace one of his fundamental principles and consider its significance in contemporary sociology and social psychology (especially in North America). In framing his research on the division of labor and suicide, Durkheim coined the concept of anomie for societal non-conformance. In the process, he traced suicide back to a breakdown in the norm system of society, and, on the other hand, to the individual’s lack of acceptance and socialization to such norms.

In the North American discussion, the concept of anomie, which was introduced by Robert K. Merton,109 has been considered chiefly from its second meaning. With the help of others, this has meant that alienation; a phenomenon which is widely discussed, is seldom, if ever, seen as a problem of human self-alienation, rather, it is reduced to the notion that an individual does not conform to the social and emotional norms of the (North American) society.110 Consequently then, alienation is characterized as “deviant behavior” which is interpreted as a deficiency in the readiness or ability of an individual to conform; and finally, it is labeled as a psycho-social defect. As such, however, it also lends itself to the procedures of therapy and in the insecurities of a society based upon these concepts, therapies sprout up virtually like toadstools out of the ground on a mild, rainy night. It seems only coherent and logical that these therapies focus predominantly on behavioral remedies, i.e., methods and practices which strive to modify observable, measurable and statistically significant external behavior so that it will conform more closely to the social whole, i.e., to the particular societal milieu or social groups.

If we carry this type of thinking back to the discussion of education, it should be no surprise that we arrive at scientific illiteracies. For example, in an otherwise very informative examination of North American family therapy, we can glean that, on the one hand, pedagogy depends on psychology and especially with regard to the elaboration and testing of (therapeutic) procedures, and, on the other hand, it infers its aims from the analyses of the social sciences (in the concrete case, the collective picture of “normal,” not anomical, families as decided by the social sciences).111 We are justified in speaking of a pedagogical illiteracy, when we see how such a model not only falls short of Rousseau’s distinction between man and the citizen, but also how it is exceeded by the notion—“discovered” at the latest by the Renaissance—that the self is autonomous as the agent of his action, as author of his own history, and as the responsible judge of his own doing and conduct.

If we wanted to portray Durkheim’s model of education like a collection of curios, we could present one educational system or design after another which is dominated by a fully developed ideology. Ideologies establish dogmatic attitudes, claiming sole validity (people are therefore classified as either supporters or dissidents because the ideology supposedly possesses the “absolute” or incontrovertible truths). Whenever pedagogy and education are placed under the dictates of such an ideology, Durkheim’s abstract social model emerges into very concrete configurations, including dreadful deformities. Anomie and social non-conformity are, then, branded as deviancy and/or as heresy; frequently enough they are therefore used to justify persecution. On the other hand, conformity to that which is collectively sanctioned and which is supported by the ruling power is pedagogically canonized. Such ideological pedagogies are not infrequent; they exist in a politically partisan form such as in the national socialistic, in the fascistic, or in the Soviet pedagogy. In a religious-denominational expression they can be met in calvinism or in some branches of the education of the counter reformation. This is not the place to go into further details of these pedagogies; our interest is not primarily historical, but rather philosophical. Without exception, historical references serve us only as the railings along the path on which our thoughts are striding.112

A glance at most any recent history of education will suffice to show that this position is not bound only to the ideological presuppositions of a particular historical past; rather, it is potent whenever the pedagogical perspective is altered by interest in social reform or when education is transformed into the vehicle of historical or economic innovation. In describing the latest German educational reform and the beginning of the so-called “curriculum research” movement, one of the pioneers of both reform movements, Saul B. Robinsohn, states that educational theory must programmatically: analyses of specific socially (thus also professionally) applied situations and needs, in order to certify the required functions, which then in turn are attached to the qualifications to be acquired through particular subjects.113

If this short citation is carefully examined, the make-up of educational reform is removed from the true face of this society-centered education, i.e., an education is revealed which is directed and maintained in that direction by the society. In doing this, we can also see Emile Durkheim peering over its shoulder.

If we wanted to refer to a final example which is just as illustrative and informative, we could examine a theory which has received worldwide acclaim and which has been highly influential in early childhood education: the developmental theory of Robert R. Sears.114 However, adapting a satirical remark of Alfred Polgar, we must say that, in reality, Sears’ “theory of development” is a “learning theory” because it explains the child’s development as a sequence in the stages of socialization. Step by step, the child fits more and more into his social environment, and this adaptation process is spurred on and driven forward by social gratification—the anticipated rewards for conformity. In the end, the system of motivation acquired by the society determines, or at least strictly controls the development of internal needs and actions. The small child “develops,” therefore, in the direction in which society’s educational agents (usually the parents are the first) push it. Later the child internalizes the expectations of the society or social groups, and this learned system of motivation supersedes the child’s natural drives and needs. Finally, the grown child (but never grown to accountability) behaves just as expected of him, because through identification and internalization he has learned the “proper” behavior, i.e., the behavior which is socially expected and gratifying.

We can better understand why this chapter has spoken of a nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic concept of education, if we behavioristically extend this theory of “development.” In addition, the reader can appreciate why we have named this a science of education, for with this last example, it becomes obvious how much this position strives to gain control of education by taking it in hand in order to steer it according to our wishes and needs.

At least three sore points are raised from a critical examination of the nature-pessimistic science of education which we have presented through Durkheim and clarified through some illustrative examples.

1. The first aspect of this position, which appears particularly inconsistent and difficult to accept, is the fact that just as it is with the nature-optimistic, society-critical science of education, it assumes a normative basis. With the former, the laws of natural development become a pedagogical schema of stages. From Durkheim, the social norms and rules are subsumed under the concept of the collective consciousness. But while the first makes no secret that the educational norms can only be established on the assumption that the child, by nature, is good—Rousseau proclaims this thesis in the first sentence of Emile—here the analogous presupposition states that society is good. This presupposition most often remains unexpressed, and there is a good reason for concealing it. It may be true that, except for the extreme romantics, it is quite apparent how exaggerated it is to see the innocent child as it emerges from the hands of the creator in an entirely unspoiled blaze of pure light and without any flaw. But on the other hand, history and everyday individual experience seem openly and frankly to mock the assumption of a perfect and unreservedly good society. This applies equally to the society of today (and of yesterday) as well as to that of tomorrow’s society. If we are unwilling to escape into the realm of utopian dreams, this will also apply even to that society built in some distant future. Certainly, one of the lessons which the almost endless series of political revolutions can give us is that tearing down one of society’s buildings by no means guarantees the construction of a perfect society.

It is precisely at this point that Theodor W. Adorno sees one of the most questionable shortcomings of Durkheim:

While, because of the primacy of the whole, everything particular which participates therein, points beyond itself, actually shows itself technically to be ‘meaningful’ to the extent that it reflects that whole. The possibility that such meaning could be negative, i.e., an expression of a bad whole, is arbitrarily ignored.115

The Durkheimian normative position, where education is identified with socialization, is—in the terms of Karl Marx—purchased at the price of mystifying the society. And the social crises which beset us today seem to be shaking the overdrawn social optimism and allow us, as Aurelio Peccei has said, “to reach the conclusion that the solutions to overcoming the human dilemma and the guarantees for the future of mankind are only to be sought within ourselves.”116

2. From this observation, a second weak point of this position can be seen. Just as it was that, in the end, the nature-optimistic, society-critical variety denies the autonomy of the human person and subscribes to a natural determinism, the nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic science of education also rejects the notion of a subject who is self-forming. In its impassioned efforts to oppose any form of individualism or subjectivism, it is likely to accept blindly the dangers of monotonous conformity. The most inherent activities of the self (ego)—“I think,” “I value,” “I do”—must be thought to disappear with the flashy emergence of “learning,” “internalizing,” and “conforming” to a collective social conscience (Super-ego).117 To sharpen this point even further, we can assert that neither variety of educational science speaks of self-thought, values, or action as the self-determined and active achievements of the human person; in one case, it must honestly be admitted that it is nature and, in the other, that it is the society which thinks, values, and acts in me. Durkheim thought this through to its conclusion and didn’t hesitate to articulate its consequences.

I remember well a discussion in which I was once embroiled after a lecture.118 In its course, I was criticized by a participant that in my presentation I had not entertained the question of how values get into the individual; obviously with his objection, the participant silently began from the assumption that these values somehow stem from society and must be unloaded into youth. I was quite surprised by this objection and especially by the assumption carried within it, and I countered with a statement which was confusing to the person with whom I was conversing: that as an educator, the question of how values “get into” the youngster is of much less concern than the much more explosive problem of how they “come out” of him. The much more critical educational question is, indeed, how it is possible—and not only possible, but also how it actually is—that we accept values and judgments; without doubt, each of our choices and decisions represents such a valuing process, for we always prefer one out of many others, select one, and disregard others. However, if we want to give an answer to this question, then we must step beyond the nature-pessimistic, society-optimistic science of education. We forsake this position as soon as we concede that internalizing values means precisely that “we” encounter values and make them our own. Of course, just as it is that the process of “holding-to-be-true” (Für-wahr-halten) cannot be given to others, so it is with “holding-to-be-of-value” (Für-wert-halten). Once we realize this, it follows that every time we hold something to be true or something to be of value, we decide or accomplish this by ourselves. Adorno reminds us that if we merely let it be expected of us, we are not yet on the way to responsibility and independence.

3. The third point of friction emerges from a shift in the authority which decides an individual’s thinking, wanting, and doing. Durkheim and his followers remove it from the thinking, willing, and acting person and transfer it to society and its institutions. It would certainly be an over-simplification or distortion to suggest that Durkheim or the ideas which have spun from this tradition have attempted to deprive the individual completely of any possibility of thinking, willing, or acting. But, for us, the question remains whether it isn’t true that to the same extent to which moral authority is removed from the individual and shifted to the society, thought, will, and action can only then be judged according to conformity or non-conformity, according to legality or illegality; thereby, that which makes the world of mankind human in the first place is excluded: the morality of action. It is precisely in this, however, that Kant’s distinction between legality and morality lies: whether the criterion of my action is external or internal to me, whether the authority which judges my action exists outside of me, or is one peculiar to myself. The judge in the society renders his decision in each case only according to whether or not my action corresponds to a positive norm; he cannot in any way dispute what my conscience bids or forbids.

If we wanted to clarify the contrast between legality and morality with an educational example, we could think of Makarenko and his concept of collective education. For Makarenko, there was no question that it is the collective which educates and that the individual is to submit himself to the collective. The aim of education, for him, is “to esteem their own small collective and the collective of the entire Soviet society.”119 But this submission to the collective does not necessarily mean to extinguish individuality; it might, however, attempt to rob the individual of his subjectivity. For with the same deceptiveness with which Rousseau in Emile quietly admits that the mystery of his educational theory lies in bringing the child to the point, where, on his own, he wants only what he ought, Makarenko stated:

...that the most realistic form of work with regard to the individual is to anchor the individual into the collective, even to anchor this individual in such a manner that he believes it is by his own wish, that he is voluntarily situated in the collective.120

If the individual has internalized the role expectations of a society and identified himself with them, then his role-playing behavior is hardly seen as a role nor would he feel self-alienated. What else would it mean to “socialize” the individual except to substitute an internalized social authority for personal autonomy? And characteristically for Makarenko, in a few lines after the previous citation, he stated that even as educators we will never be able to become the pedagogical oracles who decide the laws of education, for “these laws most generally emerge from life in the Soviet Union and particularly from life in our collective, and they are so convincing that there can be nothing more for us to quibble about.”121



1. Compare also from the same author, “Academic Secularization and Education,” Rassegna di Pedagogia/Pädagogische Umschau 42 (1984): 31-43.

2. Compare Winfried Böhm, “Die sieben Todsünden der Pädagogik,” Pädagogik und Wissenschaft, ed. Helmut Konrad (Kippenheim, 1981) 91-100.

3. Compare Guntram Knapp, Der antimetaphysche Mensch (Stuttgart, 1973); similarly Arthur L. Caplan and Bruce Jennings, eds., Darwin, Marx, Freud. Their Influence on Moral Theory (New York, 1984).

4. The term “industrial” here does not mean “pertaining to Industry,” but rather is used as a synonym for the poietic making for increasing production.

5. For greater detail, compare Winfried Böhm and Alden LeGrand Richards, Die nordamerikanische Erziehungsphilosophie im 20. Jahrhundert (Würzburg, 1994).

6. John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920; Boston: Beacon Paperback Edition, 1957).

7. Dewey, The Quest for Certainty (New York, 1929).

8. Dewey, A Common Faith (1934; New Haven, 1976) 32.

9. Dewey, Reconstruction 106ff.

10. Dewey, Reconstruction 112.

11. Dewey, Reconstruction 114.

12. Dewey, Reconstruction 116.

13. Dewey, Reconstruction 121.

14. Dewey, Reconstruction 156.

15. Burrhus F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: Bantam/Vintage Books, 1972) 12.

16. Lettre no. 1961, in Correspondance Generale de Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Paris, 1928) 12: 205-217.

17. To understand what Rousseau meant, one can read the lucid treatment of it by Carmela Metelli Di Lallo, Analisi del discorso pedagogico (Padova, 1966) esp. 177-270.

18. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile: Or on Education, complete translation by Allan Bloom, (1762; New York: Basic Books, 1979) 38.

19. See Rousseau’s first discourse on the question: “Has the progress of the arts and sciences contributed more to the corruption or purification of morals?”

20. Compare the second discourse: “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.”

21. See Carls Xodo Cegolon, Maitre de soi. L’idea di libertà nel pensiero pedagogico di Rousseau (Brescia, 1984) esp. 66ff.

22. Compare Jacques Maritain, Trois Réformateurs—Luther, Descartes, Rousseau (Paris: 1937); also Iring Fetscher, Die politische Philosophie Rousseaus (Neuwied, 1960) esp. 5Off.

23. It is well known that Rousseau refused to become an educator and did not raise his own children himself. In the first book of Emile, he sarcastically stated that if he could not undertake (because of personal incapacity) the most useful task, he would at least attempt the easiest, instead of putting his hand to the work, he put it to the pen. “Instead of doing what is necessary, I shall endeavor to say it” (Emile: Or on Education 50).

24. Martin Rang, Rousseaus Lehre vom Menschen (Göttingen, 1959) 336.

25. Rang, Rousseaus Lehre vom Menschen 337.

26. Montessori expressed these fundamental thoughts of education which she took from Rousseau in the concept of “incarnation.”

27. See Ronald Grimsley, “Rousseau and the Problem of Happiness,” Hobbes and Rousseau. A Collection of Critical Essays, eds. Maurice Cranston and Richard S. Peters (New York, 1972); also Wladislaw Tatarkiewicz, Analysis of Happiness (The Hague, 1976).

28. Compare Georg Holmsten, Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Selbstzeugnissen und Dokumenten (Reinbek, 1972) 43f.

29. Compare Böhm, Maria Montessori. Hintergrund und Prinzipien ihres pädagogischen Denkens (Bad Heilbrunn, 1969) esp. 123ff; also Alessandro Leonaduzzi, Maria Montessori. Il pensiero e l’opera (Brescia, 1967). See also in particular, Maria Montessori, “Deviazione e normalizzazione,” Opera Montessori, Boletino Bimestrale 2 (1934) n. 2-3, pp. 18-31, dt., “Deviation und Normalisation,” Maria Montessori. Texte und Gegenwartsdiskussion, ed. Winfried Böhm (Bad Heilbrunn, 1985) 31-40.

30. See especially Giuseppe Flores d’Arcais, Il problema pedagogico nell’Emilio (Brescia, 1957); see also Ramon M. Lemos, Rousseau’s Political Philosophy (Athens, GA, 1977).

31. Rousseau, Emile, trans. William H. Payne (New York: Appleton & Co., 1892) 44.

32. Rousseau, Emile 9.

33. Ernst Cassirer, Das Problem Jean-Jacques Rousseau (first appeared in “Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie” vol. 14) (Darmstadt, 1975) 11.

34. Kurt Weigand, ed., in his preface to, Jean-Jacques Rousseaus Schriften zur Kulturkritik (Hamburg, 1971) viii.

35. Compare Rousseau’s preface to the second “Discourse” as well as his forward to Emile.

36. Compare the following, Michael Gothein, William Wordsworth. Sein Leben, seine Werke, Zeitgenossen 2 vols. (Halle, 1893); H. Fischer, ed., William Wordsworth. Präludium oder Das Reifen eines Dichtergeistes (Stuttgart, 1974); James Swift, Kleinkinderziehung in England (Würzburg, 1984). I owe it to James Swift for several references to Wordsworth which—as far as I can tell—have not been accepted into German pedagogy.

37. William Wordsworth, “Intimations,” Selected Poems and Prefaces (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1965) 66-68, 187.

38. Wordsworth, “The Prelude,” Selected Poems and Prefaces Bk. V, 248, 328-329.

39. Herman Nohl, Die pädagogische Bewegung in Deutschland und ihre Theorie (Frankfurt, 1961).

40. Compare Nohl, Die Deutsche Bewegung, eds. O. F. Bollnow and F. Rodi (Göttingen, 1970); H. J. Finckh, Der Begriff der Deutschen Bewegung und seine Bedeutung für die Pädagogik, ed. Herman Nohl (Frankfurt/Bern, 1977) 197.

41. Compare, for example, Bruno Schonig, Irrationalismus als pädagogische Tradition (Weinheim, 1973); Hubertus Kunert, Deutsche Reformpädagogik und Faschismus (Hannover, 1973); see also Böhm, “Zur Einschätzung der Reformpädagogischen Bewegung in der Erziehungswissenschaft der Gegenwart,” Pädagogische Rundschau 28 (1974): 763-781.

42. Maria Montessori, “Quando la scienza entrerà nella scuola,” La Coltura Popolare, Jan. 15, 1915.

43. Compare in detail Roberto Mazzetti, Maria Montessori nel rapporto tra anormali e normalizzazione (Rome, 1963).

44. See Ersilia Liguori, “Maria Montessori ed Ovide Decroly,” Maria Montessori e il pensiero pedagogico contemporaneo, a cura di Marziola Pignatari (Rome, 1959) 91-106.

45. Ludwig Gurlitt, Erziehungslehre (Berlin, 1909) 204.

46. Gurlitt, Erziehungslehre 62 and 63.

47. Gurlitt, Erziehungslehre 64f.

48. Ellen Key, The Century of the Child (New York: Putnam & Sons, 1909).

49. Cited according to Willibald Russ, Geschichte der Pädagogik (Bad Heilbrunn, 1961) 115.

50. Key, The Century of the Child 107.

51. Compare also Teunis Melder, Mystiek sensualisme. Rilke, Montessori, Baden-Powell (dissertation) (Amsterdam, 1945).

52. Rilke, “Das Jahrhundert des Kindes,” Bremer Tageblatt und General-Anzeiger, June 8, 1902; also found in: Sämtliche Werke (Frankfurt, 1965) vol. 5.

53. Julius Langbehn, Der Geist des Ganzen (Freiburg i.Br., 1930) 68.

54. See also Aldo Agazzi, Panorama della pedagogia d’oggi (Brescia, 1948) esp. 38ff.

55. Montessori, “Ratschläge für die Montessori-Lehrerinnen,” Die Quelle [Vienna] 78 (1928): 585.

56. Compare Johannes Gläser, Vom Kinde aus (Hamburg, 1920).

57. Ekkehard von Braunmühl, Heinrich Kupffer, Helmut Ostermeyer, Die Gleichberechtigung des Kindes (Frankfurt, 1976) 26.

58. See also Andreas Flitner, Konrad, sprach die Frau Mama (Berlin, 1982).

59. Ekkehard von Braunmühl, Zeit für Kinder (Frankfurt, 1978) 81.

60. Carl R. Rogers, Freedom to Learn (Columbus: Charles E. Merrill, 1969) 103.

61. Käte Meyer-Drawe, “Die Belehrbarkeit des Lehrenden durch den Lernenden,” Kind und Welt, eds. Wilfried Lippitz and Käte Meyer-Drawe (Königstein/Ts., 1984) 66.

62. Käte Meyer-Drawe has referred to this very beautifully.

63. Compare in detail and critically Harold Entwistle, Child-Centred Education (London, 1970).

64. See paradigmatically Edouard Claparède, L’école sur mesure, Lausanne, 1920; similarly, Arnould Clausse, Essai sur l’école nouvelle (Brussels, 1950).

65. Theo Herrmann, “Psychologie und die ‘wahren’ Bedürfnisse,” Die “wahren” Bedürfnisse, ed. S. Moser (Basel, 1978) 51-66.

66. Friedrich Schleiermacher, “Die Vorlesungen aus dem Jahre 1826,” Pädagogische Schriften, ed. E. Weniger (Düsseldorf, 1957) 1: 26.

67. Especially appropriate is his main work, Pour une ècole active selon l’ordre chrétien (Paris, 1934); also his work, Le systeme Décroly et la pédagogie chrétienne (Fribourg, 1936).

68. Within this excellent concept, these educational movements are united in the Roman languages while German speaks of “Reformpädagogik.”

69. Compare Eugène Dévaud, “Le Bilan de l’Ecole active,” Revue Belge de Pèdagogie (1940) 328-340; see also Sergio Salucci, Eugène Dévaud (Brescia, 1967) esp. 24ff.

70. Dévaud, “Die Prinzipien einer christlichen Arbeitsschule,” Die Pädagogik der frankophonen Länder im 20. Jahrhundert, eds. Winfried Böhm, Giuseppe Flores d’Arcais (Stuttgart, 1980) 128; see also “Saint Thomas et l’Ecole active,” Bulletin Pédagogique 55.8 (1926): 113-117.

71. Compare the fundamental work by Frans de Hovre, Essai de philosophie pédagogique (Brussels, 1927).

72. For this problem, compare Bogdan Suchodolski, “Filosofia e pedagogia,” Rassegna di Pedagogia 36 (1978): 101-109.

73. One may think, for example, of the fundamental significance of the concept in Fröbel’s The Education of Man.

74. Claparède Kinderpsychologie und experimentelle Pädagogik (dt. Langensalza, 1911).

75. Claparède, “Die funktionelle Auffassung der Erziehung,” Die Pädagogik der frankophonen Länder im 20. Jahrhundert 53-58.

76. Raymond Buyse, L’experimentation en pédagogie (Brussels, 1935).

77. Martin Buber, “Über das Erzieherische,” Werke, Schriften zur Philosophie (Munich, 1962) 1: 787-808.

78. Buber, “Über das Erzieherische,” Werke, Schriften zur Philosophie 1: 791f.

79. Buber, “Über das Erzieherische,” Werke, Schriften zur Philosophie 1: 803.

80. Johann Friedrich Herbart, “Über die ästhetische Darstellung der Welt als das Hauptgeschäft der Erziehung,” Die bedeutendsten Pädagogischen Schriften Joh. Friedr. Herbarts (Langensalza, 1899) 3: 87-108.

81. Boyd H. Bode, Fundamentals of Education (New York, 1921) 8.

82. John Dewey, “My Pedagogical Creed,” cited in Readings in American Education, ed. William H. Lucio, 1963, p. 52.

83. Kurt Zeidler, “Der Ernst des Lebens,” Pädagogik deines Wesens, ed. Fritz Jöde (Hamburg, 1920) 166f.

84. Compare also Jakob R. Schmid, Le maitre—camarade et la pédagogie libertaire (Neuchatel, 1936).

85. Schmid, Le maitre—camarade et la pédagogie libertaire 50.

86. See also Mario Alighiero Manacorda, “Der politische Charakter der Pädagogik,” Die italienische Pädagogik des 20. Jahrhunderts, eds. Winfried Böhm and Giuseppe Flores d’Arcais (Stuttgart, 1979) 207-211; also compare from the same anthology: Antonio Gramsci, “L’alternativa pedagogica” (Firenze, 1972) esp. 65ff.

87. Heinz-Joachim Heydorn, Zu einer Neufassung des Bildungsbegriffs (Frankfurt, 1972) 62f.

88. Emile Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie (Frankfurt, 1976) 62f.

89. Compare also René König, “Emile Durkheim,” Klassiker des soziologischen Denkens, ed. Dirk Käsler (Munich, 1976) 1: 312-364.

90. See in detail B. S. Crittenden, “Durkheim—Sociology of Knowledge and Educational Theory,” Studies in Philosophy and Education 4 (1965/66): 207-254.

91. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 70, 71.

92. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 71.

93. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 72.

94. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 73.

95. Theodor W. Adorno, “Introduction,” Soziologie und Philosophie, by Emile Durkheim 22.

96. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 141.

97. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 87, 88.

98. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 106.

99. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 108.

100. Durkheim, Soziologie und Philosophie 95.

101. Durkheim, Education and Sociology, trans. Sherwood D. Fox (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1956) 87.

102. Durkheim, Education and Sociology 122.

103. Durkheim, Education and Sociology 84.

104. Durkheim, Education and Sociology 70.

105. Durkheim, Education and Sociology 71.

106. König, “Emile Durkheim,” Klassiker des soziologischen Denkens 330.

107. Jürgen Habermas, “Stichworte zu einer Theorie der Sozialisation,” Sozialisation und Erziehung, eds. Bernd Götz and Jochen Kaltschmid (Darmstadt, 1978) 104.

108. Ursula Cobern-Staege, Der Rollenbegriff (Heidelberg, 1973) 7.

109. Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure (Glencoe, IL, 1949); critically compare J. Ritsert, “Die Antinomien des Anomiebegriffs,” Soziale Welt 20 (1969): 145-162.

110. Compare also Ignace Feuerlicht, Alienation. From the Past to the Future (Westport, CT, 1978); see also Böhm, “Alienazione,” Nuovo Dizionario di Pedagogia, ed. Giuseppe Flores d’Arcais (Rome, 1982) 16-19.

111. Compare Martin R. Textor, Integrative Familientherapie (Heidelberg, 1985).

112. Another concise but substantial discussion of the relationship of education, pedagogy, and ideology is outlined by Giuseppe Catalfamo, L’ideologia e l’educazione (Messina, 1980).

113. Saul B. Robinsohn, Bildungsreform als Revision des Curriculum (1967; Neuwied, 1975) 48.

114. See Robert R. Sears, et al., Patterns of Child Rearing (New York, 1957); also with Lucy Rau and R. Alpert, Identification and Child Rearing (Stanford, 1965). A good portrayal is found in Henry W. Maier, Three Theories of Child Development (1865; New York, 1969) 159-197.

115. Adorno, “Introduction,” Soziologie und Philosophie 20.

116. Aurelio Peccei, forward, Das menschliche Dilemma, James W. Botkin, Mahdi Elmandjra, Mircea Malitza (Vienna, 1979).

117. Compare Johannes Schurr, “Zur absoluten Normativität des Gewissens,” Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Pädagogik 58 (1982): 1-19.

118. This pertains to my published lecture, “Erkennen und Handeln aus der Sicht von Erziehung und Pädagogik,” Wie erkennt der Mensch der Welt?, eds. Martin Lindauer, Alfred Schöpf, Symposium on the University of Würzburg (Stuttgart, 1984) 212-235.

119. Anton S. Makarenko, “Meine pädagogischen Ansichten,” Werke (Berlin, 1961) 5: 296.

120. Makarenko, “Pädagogen zucken die Achseln,” Gesammelte Werke, Marburg Edition, Vol. 7, (“Kleinere Veröffentlichungen 1932-1936”), Ravensburg, 1976, p. 40.

121. Makarenko, “Pädagogen zucken die Achseln” 41.