What is the objective of “Bildung? (‘Bildung’ = education/ formation)

I would love to briefly recall the inspiring lecture given by Dagfinn Føllesdal on The Role of Science in ‘Bildung’. This talk held place on´the 3rd of December 2012 in the course of the Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker-Vorlesungen at the University of Hamburg.

I am completely passionate about the learnings from this lecture. Here is my personal selection of two key-points:

 1. We need ‘Bildung’ for the creation and learning of empathy.

‘Bildung’ increases the capability to understand the point of view of other people: how they see the world, what they think, what they feel.’Bildung’ increases empathy and this should be the main objective of it.

Isn’t this beautiful? Honestly, I think that Føllesdal’s message in this talk is again powerful, striking, wise and esthetic. Here comes the second point:

2. To create ‘Bildung’, the encouragement of critical thinking and detection of bullshit is necessary.

The goal of universities should be at least to equip students with a bullshit-metre!

Føllesdal also had a concrete tip how to do this, how to foster critical thinking: Give your students or kids “seemingly plausible argumentation” which is NOT plausible and only seems to be plausible at first sight. Then give your students the task to find the bullshit!

I think that this is a great idea and a valuable hint for all teachers, parents and professors. We could definitely have more of this bullshit-detection in school and at the universities, don’t we?

In summary, from my part, I want to thank Dagfinn Føllesdal for opening my eyes on this issue. ‘Bildung’ is indeed not an egoistic and narcissistic endeavor. In conclusion, we need ‘Bildung’ for increasing our human, peaceful and happy togetherness in our society!

Thank you!

All of those who will have the chance to hear a talk by Føllesdal: Enjoy it!