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Research Article

„Bildung“ (Herder) und „Cultur“ (Adelung) im Vergleich

Gérard Laudin    Université Paris-Sorbonne, France    



“Bildung” and “Kultur” are among the key terms of the German Enlightenment, and appear in various hierarchical forms in the late 18th century. In Adelung’s Versuch einer Geschichte der Cultur des menschlichen Geschlechts (1782), which partly draws on Herder’s Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menschheit (1774), the term Cultur refers to a social phenomenon that subsumes “refinement” (Verfeinerung), “Enlightenment” (Aufklärung) and “abilities” (Fähigkeiten). Adelung’s concept of culture is tightly linked to his interpretation of human history, which differs both from that of the largely politically oriented universal histories of his time, and from that of the anthropologically based “philosophies of history” (Iselin, Herder, Kant). For Adelung, culture is produced by “crowds in confined spaces” and thus appears as a quantitative phenomenon, as opposed to the qualitative elements such as power (Kraft) and fermentation (Gärung) that determine the course of history in Herder’s philosophy of history of 1774. Cultur emerges from a balance that comes about when the material and non-material components of a given culture are “in the most exact proportion” to each other. The idea of the “Maximum” formulated in Herder’s Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784), which is described as “a climax” that every nation reaches in its own way, appears to be developed critically as a counterpart to Adelung’s concept of balance.

Keywords: hilosophy of History. Cultural History. History of Historiography.

Language: de

Submitted: July 24, 2020   Accepted: Aug. 28, 2020   Published: Dec. 22, 2020  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/AnnOc/2499-1562/2020/54/011

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