• Giussepe Prezzolini

Actual Idealism and the School


What are the tenets of this Italian school of idealism? The positivists postulate the existence of truth and of a world outside of man, which man should endeavor to understand. According to “absolute idealism” truth and the external world are a creation of man and the result of a constantly renewed effort. What are the pedagogical consequences of this idea? According the positivists the master has to reach teach his pupil what his pupil does not know, while the idealist holds that the master should rather teach him to discover the truth that lies within himself; positivism is concerned with the accumulation of knowledge, while idealism seeks

to penetrate the elements of human nature and to mould as deeply as possible. In the first system the road must be cleared for the pupil, in the first system the road must be cleared for the pupil, in the second the way should be strewn with obstacles which force the student to win his way to truth through strenuous effort and even pain. In the master, as such, must ever adapt himself to new conditions and knowledge is the fruit of persistent effort. Finally, while in the positive system, culture has a universal and abstract character, alike for all, in the idealist system culture is distinctly national and historical. In this system, religion and art form the chief activities of man and the pensive mode of thought only appears later to criticize them.


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