Values as the material of education found in philosophical concept of Sergey Hessen

The essence of the pedagogical doctrine of S. Gessen, based on the philosophy of neo-Kantianism. Its importance for the education. The importance of an values as an instrument of personal development, their influence of a universal human culture.

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Язык английский
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While studying the works of Sergey Hessen it is the search for philosophical truth about the world based on permanent values which is the most significant noticed feature. He mostly appreciated the ideas of freedom, equality, law and morality. Neither of them could he experienced on his own in his homeland, initially because the Russian tsar government then being continually undervalued by the Bolsheviks. It was then when two major totalitarian systems - Stalinism and fascism grew up based on the crisis of the basic values. The crisis of values was not only an indicator of the social area. It had been noticed in European philosophical thought much earlier. It mainly concerned the values creating culture and was based on undermining its objectivity, commonwealth and universality. These could be found in Wilhelm Dilthey's who denied philosophy aspirations to cover objectivity and scientific character. In consequence, Dilthey's views on human's reality resulted in irrationalism.

At the beginning of 20th century there appeared new philosophical thought called - phenomenology. A priori knowledge and ideal subjects - a thought initiated by Edmund Husserl. He introduced a thorough reform of philosophy which was perceived as the science knowledge with its highest value to fulfill man's prior theoretical needs. The most

eminent representative of phenomenology beside Husserl was Max Scheler who enriched this mainstream with the issue of practical philosophy. In the field of ethics he formulated the original theory of values understood as something precious. Concerning the matter of values, he distinguished some groups of them and ranked in order of hierarchical structure. The lowest rank was held by values - called hedonistic, connected with the feeling of pleasure. Subsequent to this, vital values - related to behaviour of biological life were placed. Next in order were spiritual values, divided further into moral ones (meaning goodness), aesthetic understood as beauty and finally cognitive - meaning the truth. The highest position was held by the religious values. Scheler claimed that the values were distinguished by their objective and principal character.

In spite of the fact Hessen's beliefs were influenced by Scheler's ideas, he was not seeking inspiration from phenomenology. Instead, it was the objective idealism which appealed closer to him. In Hessen's works a lot of attention is given to Plato's philosophy. However, it was German philosophy that his ideas were founded upon. First and foremost, he draws on Immanuel Kant, George Wilhelm Hegel as well as on the Baden school of neokantism represented by Wilhelm Windelband and HeindrichVERSUS

Rickert who were closest to his ideas. In the light of the fact that I. Kant revealed universal and necessary truths behind science, he proclaimed his admiration for science as being the only supreme and objective value.

As Hessen wrote, Kantism “believed in pure morality, art and law which is not only an expression of private needs but of justice, even behind religion that is the expression of human pure pursuit towards holiness and not only the result of subjective feelings of fear, uncertainty, desire for power or superstitions caused by the lack of knowledge. Kant claimed that all these values, similar to science are governed by own autonomous laws, which proves their absolute universal character. Hessen believed that the universal structure and the heart of the absolute values can be examined objectively by philosophy, because it is possible to make scientific precise statements on what combines people and creates common virtue out of all people's affords in search for truth, beauty and justice [4, p. 271].

I. Kant also searched for these in terms of action norms, undertaking criticism of `practical' mind. The source for moral norms is neither the state, the church nor the public opinion but a man acting himself, being a self-employer for his own needs. The source of morality perceived by Kant was the mind, pure and entirely independent from sensuality [1, p. 11-12]. In similar way he treated the meaning of good and evil. He appreciated his view on ruthlessness of the good. In due course he admitted that the natural truths exist not only within the area of cognition and acting but also aesthetic liking [7, p. 178-179]. Kant's ethics as the ethics of duty required to follow the conscience. It developed among those with straightforward views and hearted people who obeyed their duty principle. According to Kant, neither science nor philosophy was required in order to lead the right way to be an honest and right man. Based on it Kant measured man's achievements not by the growth of his mind but the direction of his will which reflected man's dignity as the subject of moral law. That resulted with Kant's expression of categorical imperative according to which one must act in order to treat another person as the aim but never as the means.

Among all known idealistic systems, it was the system of George Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel which preferably applied to the beliefs of Hessen. With its idealistic measure as the basis he made a statement about the precedence over thought and material things as its work. According to Hegel, both existence and the thought preserved their logical nature which conditioned its existence and development according to logical laws (each of its state derived from proceeding one). As a result, Hegel appointed three spheres of existence - the meaning, the nature and the thought which attributed to three units of philosophy - logic, philosophy of nature and philosophy of spirit. Especially interesting in Hegel's philosophy is the philosophy of the nation and its historical development presented in “Lectures on Philosophy of History”[2, p. 518]. A theory which was built by him was based on universalism basis and group superiority over an individual. The state was regarded to be the highest level of social system, a product of ideological systems, incontrovertible authority, the greatest earth's power. An individual gains his moral issues within the state.

On the other hand W. Windelband perceived humanistic sciences differently which derived from their method. He claimed that most humanistic sciences preserved their historical character and refers to individual events such as the history of a particular nation, an individual person, development of a religion, art or science. Following Windelband's views on differences in sciences which resulted not only from its method but also the subject H. Rickert claimed that it was already the two crossing divisions (according to the method and the subject) which allowed to trace right place for humanistic sciences among a number of others. All sciences have been divided into those of nature and culture. The basis for such division was an object. Nature was regarded by what had led to self-existence whereas culture was the effect of man's activity.

Hessen's works were clearly influenced by the philosophers mentioned above. These might have been his personal hopes for human resurgence in order to establish a new society. He consciously chose objective idealism as he was persuaded to get new possibilities for scientific and objective insight into the structures of such universal and incontrovertible values as the truth, the good and the beauty. Producing these main humanistic values as objective and common helped Hessen to overcome philosophy crisis in culture. They were supposed to be widespread through upbringing. While perceiving the world, Hessen supported on Plato's idealistic concept. Similarly to Plato's views the world of values created by Hessen has a hierarchic structure with a clear remark that among lower values we may notice first traits of those at higher level which on the other hand include elements of the lower ones [6, p. 23-31].

Within the meaning of culture Hessen pointed out towards three areas. The highest comprised education, art, religion and morality. Further in order were those included governing and law while the third consisted of economy and technology. Hessen claimed that neither of the three with accompanying values existed as a physical being although they possessed `common importance` which derived from their objectivity but most of all from the advantages independent from man's judgment. In one of his works `About Conflicts and Unity of Education' he presented the process of upbringing perceived at different angles. His earlier created conception based on triple division (biological, social and spiritual existence) was enriched by the fourth which was eternal life and the God's Kingdom. It was just that sphere which he treated as the perfect moral commonwealth based on genuine love towards another person. Hessen claimed that the most important issue a pedagogue faced was the problem of integral link between educating and perceiving the world. This led to clear division on the world and ideology. According to his belief, proper education or upbringing resulted in the outlook on life. He stressed that hardening view of the world into ideology led towards degeneration of education which involved shaping a man. He further added that educating meant much more than the shaping process. All the above leads to asking a basic question over the autonomy of upbringing [3, p. 368]. He considered where the autonomy of upbringing resulted from. Hessen also examined interactions between upbringing as a positive aspect and negative conditions of educating both social and natural. His thoughts over the case of world view which is an important element to be shaped while bringing up were a major point to refer to the values fulfilled in the world. Hessen claimed that the world view was significantly different from the views in total as it consists of a unity. Seeing the world as whole, a man becomes a little world himself which can be referred to as a microcosms [4, p. 271].

According to Hessen, it was just the world view as a characteristic human feature, which allowed a man to become independent from biological world and even adjust to own needs. `It is only because a man has abilities to absorb the whole world, even though it is done in a not perfect, disturbed and restricted way, he becomes itself a small world. He is not only a part of the vast world but through his micro cosmos he has own unique value. A man absorbs the world of course not in a real way (opposed to his organism towards the environment), but in a perfect way as a spiritual creature. As long as he is the microcosms which means to possess the world view thus he or she becomes a spiritual nature who possessing unique values can provide world's dignity through the creation in nature, independent from a man and being mental about the values of world's history' [4, p. 271].

Hessen believed that the world view includes aspiration to learn about the world and following that to formulate the essence of the world through meanings. His further deliberations were directed towards recognizing the meaning of the world view in order to find out about the meaning of the world and fulfilling values. Appreciating a certain hierarchy of values becomes thus the essence of the world view. Referring to typologies of the world view given by Dilthey, illustrated by a doctor, an artist and a politician, he pointed to three man's attitudes towards the world issues and the hierarchy of values. The attitude of naturalism which gives priority to the truth is scientific, whereas the objective idealism attitude is artistic and the highest value it praises is the beauty. The attitude of idealism freedom has a moral character perceiving good as the highest value. However, Hessen realized that Dilthey's typology seemed insufficient as it required considering that each world view is linked to its historical background of the epoch, which had been already pointed out by Hegel. Thus, he claimed that the world view which was consolidated within man's personality and historical situation is the man's attitude towards the entire world and aimed to understand it. This relation is of spiritual character and the man reveals as a spiritual being, absorbing the outer world and within the time on the course of learning about the whole world, the man himself becomes a unity which means a micro cosmos of his personality. The world view makes its way to express itself in forms which aspire to their common recognition. The result of such streaming of the world outlook towards universalism were the forms of culture. “A man's outlook streaming in order to absorb the entire world is realized by creating a new world by the man and it is the world of culture, which similar to personality microcosms is the product of the view of the world”, proved Hessen [4, p. 271]. If the world view becomes overcome in creative act of a man's character it is then converted into philosophy, science, art or any other form of the world culture. It stops being the world view but rather becomes a creation of objective and spiritual life and reaches universal character of a `common value'.

Further on, he carried out analysis on the attitude of an outlook towards education and upbringing practice. He proved that general consciousness and self-consciousness develop parallel and the process starts around the age of ten. Together with the development of his world view, there develops his personality. Initially the world view exists as an individual child's attitude who is a spiritual being, which means a personality towards the universe. Such kind of the world view is a creation of spiritual spontaneity. A child understands his position in the world as a personality and during the course the world gains more and more objective features thus becomes the subject of further perception and activity for the child who realizes his own subjectivity. It is already now when the world view becomes the subject of education.

The aim of education is to provide conditions for a man to acquire the world view in order to become a personality. Thus, educating is regarded as shaping an outlook which develops along with personality. Considering the fact that the world view develops also out of school, it may imply that the meaning can be understood as spiritual atmosphere surrounding a child. The teacher's role in this period of a young person is to provide tolerance in order not to loose authentic sense of spiritual environment. A foster child should have a chance to experience the issue of the world view and learn to understand historically determined layered structure of spiritual world. Only then will he be able to use its elements towards building up his personal world view.

In juvenile period which is between the age of 14 and 18 there starts development of creating world view to express self personality. Hessen believed that especially then a proper teacher's attitude towards the youth should concern a brave and straightforward expressed view of the world without any enforcement. It should be supported by tolerance and the love of individual view of the world; however it still demands actions and should not neglect an individual, personal being - regarded by Hessen.

Thus, the process of educating is the process of introducing into objective spiritedness, directing the development of love values which is adequate with the process of personality development. Educating is treated here as the process of growing up personality and gaining the world view is just the opposite. Thus, it becomes that the deepest rule of educating is such an outlook on life which seems to be inseparable from the world and hide but it is still ready to overcome difficulties. It is even a priority while taking authentic educational steps to overcome barriers connected with inappropriate perception of the world. The world view during education process should be closely linked to the educator's personality. The tradition which is passed to younger generations is accomplished by its acts which concentrate in the same values. Working on it requires, by Hessen, personal freedom actions and it may only be done through personality. It is also necessary to convert the tradition in a creative way. Only then, cultural achievements of the past generations will be understood by their followers. These deliberations lead Hessen towards the conclusion that education is a culture in its personal aspect, the culture of personality [4, p. 271].

While considering the phenomenon of educating Hessen tried to point out that upbringing was a spiritual process within personality finds fulfillment, still preserving continuity of tradition. He perceived


gessen pedagogical culture education

1. Bornstein, B. (2004). Kilkastowo «Krytyce praktycznegorozumu», w : I. Kant, Krytyka praktycznego rozumu. Warszawa, 11--12. [in Polish]

2. Hegel, G.W.F. (2011). Wyktady o filozofii dziejow, Hechett Polska. Warszawa. [in Polish]

3. Hessen, S. (1968). Studia z filozofii kultury, PWN. Warszawa, 1968. [in Polish]

4. Hegel G. W. F. Wyklady o filozofii dziejow, Hechett Polska / G. W. F. Hegel. -- Warszawa, 2011. -- 518 p.Hessen, S. (1997). O sprzecznosciach i jednosci wychowania, Zak. Warszawa. [in Polish]

5. Nowacki, T. (1997). Mysl Platona w pedagogice XX wieku: rzecz o tworczosci Sergiusza Hessena. Przeglqd Historyczno-Oswiatowy, 1/2, 5--25. [in Polish]

6. Okon, W. (1990). Sergiusz Hessen o filozofii wychowania. KwartalnikPedagogiczny, 3, 23--34. [in Polish]

7. Tatarkiewicz, W. (1990). Historia filozofii, t. II. Warszawa,178-179. [in Polish]

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