Kantian Journal

2016 Issue №2(56)

Paul Natorp’s social pedagogic theory and it’s relevance to modern russian education


The paper discusses Paul Natorp’s social pedagogy theory from the point of its relevance to the modern educational discussions. Natorp sees practical task of his pedagogic theory in negation of German society’s crisis tendencies. The theoretical context of social pedagogy was defined by several key factors. The first one is Natorp’s dependency on legacy of Plato, J. Pestalozzi and I. Kant, while second deals with his critic of fundamental grounds of dominant contemporary pedagogical system. The major Natorp’s objection was directed against positioning psychology at the basis of a pedagogical theory. In principle this point of critique was matter of continuation of much broader debate between Neo- Kantianism and Positivism which for this time took place on pedagogical “territory”. In addition to ethics and psychology Natorp proposes to broaden theoretical ground of pedagogy by adding “pure normative sciences” such as logic and aesthetics to psychology and ethics which are already in use. In the center of his pedagogy Natorp places the concept of “will”. It is directly connected to the three levels of activity of consciousness which are associated with the three stages of education — family education, school and stage of free adult self-education. The last stage represents a “lifelong” process and ideally shouldn’t be bounded by any external factors. Natorp expects that developing German system of “folk academies” becomes a basis for implementation of this ideal in practice. He specifies that matter of people’s education should be responsibility of “secular clergy” — a class composed of all persons who are willing and able to contribute to the cause of people’s education. In this endeavor Natorp especially stresses the uniqueness of position of persons with scientific background. Thus the social function of the universities as institutions where persons of such quality are being cultivated is actualized. This notion makes Natorp’s standpoint resemble in many ways the extended reading of university’s “third mission”.

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