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Rousseau and the image of 'modern education'

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The concept of 'modern education' is directly connected with Rousseau's theory of education. It is often said that Rousseau 'founded' modern education, or at least was its most influential predecessor. The paper argues that 'modern learning' or 'experimental education' was discussed within the late-17th century 'quarrel of the ancients and moderns'. After this historically important debate, education and learning could be connected with the open experience of modern science. When compared to this tradition, Rousseau was not a modern writer. His concept of education has been far too paradoxical to serve as a groundwork for what was considered to be 'modern' or 'progressive education' at the end of the 19th century. The image of progressive education was strengthened by child psychology, especially by theories of learning and development. Rousseau's stoic concept of 'negative education' is in many respects the opposite to such a viewpoint.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2002

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