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"Philosophy of Education"

2015 year, number 6

THE DISCOURSE OF UNIVERSITY IN THE WORKS OF K. JASPERS AND ITS HISTORICAL-BIOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT

O. A. Vlasova
Saint-Petersburg State University, 7-9, Universitetskaya nab., St.Petersburg, Russia, 199034
Keywords: . , , , , , Karl Jaspers, idea of university, education, living spirit, history of philosophy

Abstract

The paper is devoted to the discourse of university in the works of Karl Jaspers and its transformation in the 1920-1960s. The author investigates Jaspers interpretation of university in the prewar and postwar periods. The analysis is based on the historical-biographical approach: it actualizes the facts of Jaspers life that influenced his turning to the problems of university education and the contemporary historical context that has determined the research perspective. The discourse of university is considered in light of the events with significant for Jaspers: the work at Heidelberg University, the prohibition to teach and publish in the Nazi period, Second World War and the post-war reconstruction of the university system. The basis of the paper is the analysis of Jaspers work «The idea of the university in its three editions (1923, 1946, 1961), as well as papers and reports. It is noted that by his writings Jaspers enters into the discussions on the fate and objectives of higher education, which had been taking place in Germany for more than a decade. According to Jaspers, university realizes three goals: vocational education, research and upbringing of the person. It does not just give knowledge or makes the student ae specialist in some field, but forms the worldview of the person. In the unity of the three goals, university always realizes its idea. The idea of university is the foundation of Jaspers educational discourse. The idea of university is the idea of spiritual unity of professors and students, unity of the community kept and developed the truth through the centuries. University exists for the truth and as an institution is just a place for realization of the idea of university. As Jaspers emphasized, university is the core of culture and society. One of the most important problems for Jaspers is the problem of determining the status of philosophy in university education. He believes that, to restore a central status in the system of university disciplines, philosophy should not be guided by natural sciences. It should not be taught as knowledge, but as experience. Moreover, the most important section is the history of philosophy. Reading the texts of the great philosophers, students begin to think and cognize themselves. The dialogue with the great thinkers starts spiritual movement and personal development. To awaken the work of the soul is the main goal of the university. The problems analyzed in the paper are important for the development of modern discussions on possible strategies for education, on the status of philosophy in the system of university disciplines. By turning to the philosophical heritage it can contribute to decision-making in modern Russian realities.