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Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776–1841), a German philosopher and a student of philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, is considered a foundational figure in the history of educational philosophy. Over the past two centuries, since the time of his major work on education The Science of Education (Allgemeine Pädagogik; 1806), his thinking has had a profound influence on educational philosophy and educational reform worldwide. This entry thematizes three central components of Herbart’s philosophy of education: his twofold concept of education and its connection to his practical philosophy; his concept of perfectibility; and his notion of pedagogical tact, especially as it relates to teacher education.

Concept of Education

Herbart’s concept of education draws out the moral meaning of education. For Herbart, education aims toward the self-determination (Selbstbestimmung) of the learner. His ...

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