The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 29, 1998

Philosophy of Education

K. Sundaram
Pages 325-329

Herder, Gadamer, and 21st Century Humanities

One of the anticipations of this Congress, namely, that of all the world's philosophical traditions address the 'problems of human life, civilization, and residence on earth,' cannot be accomplished by insisting upon the means and prescriptions of any one tradition. In this paper I address the theme of the Congress by considering the views of Johann Gottfried Herder and Hans-Georg Gadamer on education and history. In spite of attacks on his religious loyalties, Herder supported what may today be called pluralism. Having studied history and having watched history in the making of one of its darkest moments, Gadamer also saw the future of the humanities in the global conversation. To educate humanity, I conclude, philosophy should first attempt to understand the existential conditions of human life.