MP logo MP title

Mária Németh Kovátsné: Gyula Kornis' Culture Theory

Gyula Kornis, an outstanding philologist of the between-war period, was the father of the value theory of culture in Hungary. In his view, the survival of a nation is determined by its culture: the more educated a people, the more developed its economy. The realization of the individual, an aspiration to the attainment of the basic values of truth, beauty and good-will, is derivative of culture, too. In Kornis' theory, culture is based on a frame of value meanings, on activities aiming at their realization and on the intellectual products of these activities. The central idea in Kornis' culture concept is his theory of values. Culture as a value concept implies an absolute value frame, whose approximation is the central desire that makes man a human being. The basic values of truth, beauty and good-will together with the divine ideal embody the eternal, timeless, perfect and absolute value independent of man. These eternal values are not created by man but are recognized in the course of human actions. Culture is an activity: a scientific, artistic, moral and religious activity, the means of realizing the basic values. The task of this activity while aspiring to the realization of values is to shape the surrounding world so that these values become objective. Culture in this sense is our shaping of reality. The mental products of human activity become available in objective reality for both contemporary and later generations in the form of cultural goods: science, art, morals and religion. Culture in this sense can be perpetuated and developed. Every generation searches itself in the intellectual products of previous eras. The culture of every generation is a value frame and a historical product at the same time. Its acquisition is only efficient in an institutionalized form. It is the task of the state to provide for the institutions responsible for the transmission of culture. Kornis believes that education is capable of the efficient transmission of culture.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 95. Number 1-2. 77-87. (1995)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kovátsné Németh Mária, H–9400 Sopron, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky E. u. 4.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia