Johann Bernhard Basedow and the Transformation of Modern Education Educational Reform in the German Enlightenment
Best known for the progressive school he founded in Dessau during the 18th century, Johann Bernhard Basedow was a central thinker in the German Enlightenment. Since his death in 1790 a substantial body of German-language literature about his life, work, and school (the Philanthropin) has developed. In the first English intellectual biography of this influential figure, Robert B. Louden answers questions that continue to surround Basedow and provides a much-needed examination of Basedow's intellectual legacy.
Assessing the impact of his ideas and theories on subsequent educational movements, Louden argues that Basedow is the unacknowledged father of the progressive education movement. He unravels several paradoxes surrounding the Philanthropin to help understand why it was described by Immanuel Kant as “the greatest phenomenon which has appeared in this century for the perfection of humanity”, despite its brief and stormy existence, its low enrollment and insufficient funding.
Among the many neglected stories Louden tells is the enormous and unacknowledged debt that Kant owes to Basedow in his philosophy of education, history, and religion. This is a positive reassessment of Basedow and his difficult personality that leads to a reevaluation of the originality of major figures as well as a reconsideration of the significance of allegedly minor authors who have been eclipsed by the politics of historiography. For anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the history of German philosophy, Louden's book is essential reading.
London, New York
Louden, Robert B. PhD, "Johann Bernhard Basedow and the Transformation of Modern Education Educational Reform in the German Enlightenment" (2021). Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Books. 662.