Chapter 10 The Czech Question as the Task of a Humanist Education

In: Recalling Masaryk’s The Czech Question
Aleš Prázný
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Masaryk’s concept of democracy is based on the legacy of the humanist ideals of Western civilisation. According to Masaryk, these ideals are rooted in ancient philosophy, Christianity, and the Enlightenment. As a representative of enlightened reason, Masaryk emphasises the role of education in the development of humanity: the Czech question is, in his view, a question of application of scientific knowledge. Masaryk views this task with optimism and derives the ideals of humanism from the Czech tradition of Reformation. This pitted him against those intellectuals who interpreted Czech humanism in relation to Catholicism and Western influences. In the spirit of Auguste Comte, Masaryk later became convinced that the key task of his times was to politically overcome the shift from theocracy to democracy. That point, in his view, came with the First World War, which Masaryk called the ‘world revolution’. Its outcome was supposed to be an era of humanism and science-based democracy. Prázný shows that to Masaryk, democracy is a task that has not yet been fully realised, which is why schooling and education remain a task of a prime political importance.

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Recalling Masaryk’s The Czech Question

Humanity and Politics on the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century

Series:  Value Inquiry Book Series, Volume: 381 and  Central European Value Studies, Volume: 381


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