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Christoph Lüth: Human rights, reason, education and a post-modern critique: Notions of the German and French Enlightenment in the context of the French Revolution

This paper proposes the question since when the right to education has been included among human rights. A brief historical outline of the discourse on human rights reveals that it was the German Enlightenment philosopher Christian Wolff (1754) who first discussed education as a human right. Contributions by German educational thinkers (Campe and Villaume) from before the French Revolution are analysed, followed by an interpretation of ideas elaborated by French educational politicians during the French Revolution (Lepeletier, Mirabeau and Condorcet). These arguments are contrasted with those of German educational thinkers before and after the French Revolution (Campe, Villaume, Stuve and Trapp). Finally, the issue whether post-modern philosophers (Lyotard and Rorty) criticise the Enlightenment arguments pro human rights is discussed. The paper concludes with the thesis that, notwithstanding the critical arguments of post-modern philosophers against the concept of reason in the Enlightenment era, the human right to education is also a presupposition for participation in the post-modern discourse.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 101. Number 1. 63-83. (2001)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Prof. Dr. Christoph Lüth, Universität Potsdam, Institut für Pädagogik, Postfach 601553, D-14415 Potsdam, Deutschland.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia