The discovery of Humboldt
in Humboldt and the modern German university

This chapter details a survey of the Wilhelm von Humboldt renaissance in the period around the year 1900 and the reform proposals of the subsequent decades. Sylvia Paletschek has analysed the place of Humboldt in the early twentieth-century academic debate. She has spoken of 'the discovery of Humboldt' around the year 1900. The debates from the Weimar era on the principles of the German university were framed by extensive demands for academic reform. Karl Jaspers was typical of the Weimar Republic in that he formulated a holistic ideal for the university. From the perspective of university history Martin Heidegger's speech was a part of an extended German debate on the basic academic issues. Heidegger cherished a dream of a different kind of institution, a vision that entailed a break with all ideas on the university as an autonomous institution.


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