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Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition

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2020.01.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Jennifer A. Herdt, Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition, University of Chicago Press, 2019, 329pp., $40.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780226618487. Reviewed by Timothy Stoll, Franklin and Marshall College The German word Bildung is notoriously difficult to render in English. Its most common meaning is perhaps 'education,' though in a more capacious sense than what happens exclusively in schools and universities. It is related to the German for 'image' (Bild) and the verb meaning 'to form, shape, construct' (bilden), and so suggests, when applied to a human being, a kind of quasi-aesthetic formation of one's character. The complexities and ambiguities of the term provide a considerable obstacle to those interested in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century German ethical thought, in which the ideal of Bildung plays a crucial role. In this splendid book, Jennifer Herdt has thus provided a valuable service in tracing the ways in which the concept of Bildung figures... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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