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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 27, 1998

Philosophy of Culture

Michael Polemis
Pages 61-69

Seele und Paideia
Zum philosophischen Stellenwert einer dialektischen Beziehung

Classical Greek philosophers, especially Plato and Aristotle, understood the soul as a necessary and constituent part of human life which manifests itself in the actualization of a dialectical relation between the philosophical life and virtue. Reflecting upon the Platonic and Aristotelian descriptions of soul along with the interpretation of this notion in Christianity, philosophers have continued to discuss soul in the modern period. The reliance on history has at the same time changed our understanding of soul, as in Hegelian idealism with its attempt to abrogate the traditional Kantian theory of knowledge which continued this trend towards an aporetic annulment of soul within the notion of history. Consequently, the traditional notion of paideia ceased to be a meaningful category for education, therefore, undermining the possibility of constructing an effective subjective identity for individuals as well as a theoretical access towards history. I will demonstrate how the traditional philosophical ideal that unified soul and paideia lost its appeal and scientific value, and will assess the ethical consequences of this pragmatic shift for future attempts to educate humanity. The analysis of this philosophical process will clearly indicate the conditions responsible for the demise of the notion of soul in philosophy, and will also consider the philosophers' options for a rehabilitation of soul in anticipation of the next century.

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