Springer Verlag (2018)

Søren Klausen
University of Southern Denmark
This book is a succinct guide to Søren Kierkegaard’s contribution to educational thought. Kierkegaard is not usually known as an educational thinker, but the book shows how his key notions and ideas are nevertheless highly relevant to educational theory and practice. It places them within the context of Kierkegaard’s philosophy and the philosophy of his time, while also exploring their significance to issues of contemporary concern, like the question of how far education should aim at fostering useful skills or support more ambitious goals. The central topics are Kierkegaard’s diagnosis of the limitations of objective knowledge and his corresponding emphasis on know-how, personal appropriation and subjective attitude; his analysis of more or less successful forms of self-realization; his ideas about fostering personal development through “indirect communication” and dialogue; and the elements, strengths and shortcomings of the ideal of self-cultivation.
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ISBN(s) 978-3-319-73185-8   978-3-319-73186-5   3319731858   9783319731858
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-73186-5
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Chapters BETA
Needs and Dangers of Ambitious Educational Ideals

Most debates in contemporary educational thinking and policy pit practical, short-term result oriented views against more ambitious, philosophical ones. Some educationalists are primarily concerned with employability and measurable skills; they are firmly opposed by those who insist that education s... see more

Dialogue and Indirect Communication

Kierkegaard used a wide range of subtle and circumspect forms of communication, like irony, dialectics and pseudonymous utterances. But he was also aware that they could be seen as expressions of an insincere or inauthentic attitude, and so should be used cautiously. His own preferred mode of ‘indir... see more

Self-Cultivation and Its Discontents

Kierkegaard shared many of the general views on education typical of the German Bildung-movement , but also criticized it for tending towards conformism and superficial learnedness. The core elements of the classical notion of self-cultivation are outlined. Kierkegaard’s ambiguous and probing stance... see more

Authenticity as Ideal and Idol

The chapter introduces the general idea of authenticity and presents Kierkegaard’s more specific view; how he tries to steer between extreme notions of self-creation and overly passive notions of mere self-finding. The notions of self-choice and autonomy are analysed and different lines of interpret... see more

Existence and Education

It may not be immediately obvious why Kierkegaard should be considered an important educational thinker. It is argued that his relevance to educational issues lies in his thinking about which kinds of knowledge are of primary significance, in his development and critical discussion of the central no... see more

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