Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy: Annotated Bibliography

Ignacio, J. V. P. (2020). A philosophy for a pedagogy: Kant and learner-centered teaching for the future of learning. Philosophy and Pedagogy, 5(1), 26-36. 

The present article includes a deep analysis of the educational philosophy of Kant and the way it can be applied to learner-centered teaching (LCT). The author employed the textual analysis of Kant’s Lectures in Pedagogy that were delivered from 1776 to 1777 and from 1786 to 1787. Ignacio (2020) elicited the major principles in the teachings, as well as examined the primary features of LCT. The researcher also compared the Kantian philosophy and the principles of LCT. Kant’s philosophy of education is deeply rooted in the constructivist approach, where the focus is on the learner who gains knowledge based on the information, perceptions, and behaviors this individual exhibits. Morality is a considerable peculiarity of Kantian philosophy, as it is stressed that every person has a responsibility to self-develop and, through constant growth, contribute to the development of community and the entire humanity. The focus on the learner is also a basic concept within the scope of the LCT approach. Educators try to build on the knowledge and experiences their students have. The needs of learners are central to the teaching process that is shaped based on each learner’s progress and challenges. This article sheds light on Kantian philosophy and the way it is related to the religious beliefs of the philosopher and millions of modern Christians. Kant emphasized that humans were responsible for improving the world created by God with the help of knowledge. One of the primary goals of humans, according to the Biblical tradition, is constant improvements of the world around them, which can be achieved by a responsible attitude towards self-development and learning.

Webb, S. (2020). Interpreting Kant in education: Dissolving dualisms and embodying mind – introduction. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 54(6), 1494-1509.

This article is concerned with the role Kantian philosophy of education had in the formation of the modern educational philosophy in Germany and the western world at large. Webb (2020) stated that Kantian educational philosophy was not properly analyzed by modern thinkers in terms of the existing philosophies of learning. The author considered the major concepts and principles of Kant’s philosophy of education by contrasting this paradigm to the views of modern German thinkers. The central idea to the analysis implemented by Webb (2020) is associated with dualism present in Kant’s philosophy as a realist and constructivist approaches balance each other. Webb (2020) argued that Kant’s focus on the human capacity to learn rather than the nature of knowledge, which is important for the development of modern educational theories. The author claimed that Kantian subjectivity and constructivism had been criticized, which is especially apparent these days. Modern people are to concentrate on empirical data and objectivity, but the subjectivity described by Kant cannot be simply ignored. Webb (2020) stated that Kantian philosophy could help in refining existing educational theories making them broader. Kan’s philosophy can become a bridge for modern philosophers and educators trying to understand the nature of knowledge. This article reflects the current dispute regarding the extent of objectivity in research and education. Although modern people attempt to achieve perfect objectivity, they fail to notice meaningful subjective aspects of knowledge and human being. The author managed to identify the weaknesses of this approach by providing a deep and quite novel analysis of Kantian philosophy.

Roth, K. (2018). Kant on the endless struggle against evil in the pursuit of moral perfection and the promotion of the happiness of others—Challenges for education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 51(13), 1372-1380. 

The present article deals with the moral aspect of Kantian philosophy of education, as well as its application in the modern world. Roth (2018) claimed that Kant placed special emphasis on morality and the role of education as the force nurturing moral people. The philosopher’s ideas are specifically relevant these days when people lose some moral milestones religions or other doctrines provided. According to Kantian educational philosophy, educators must help students become autonomous, creative, and efficacious. These qualities are important to address the challenges of the world in various areas, including the satisfaction of basic needs. However, education is also the platform for the creation of a society where each individual is an effective creator of ideas and things aimed at improving people’s lives. Kant stressed that people were evil inside of their hearts and willing to indulge themselves and their evil inclinations. Educators must equip young people with knowledge and skills to defeat these evil desires and to concentrate on moral and positive contributions to the good for all. According to Kant, people are evil inside their hearts, which is consistent with the Biblical view on the matter. In the Bible, people are named corrupt from inside “[f]or it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come” (Bible: New International Version, Mark, 7:21). Kant, as well as the rest of the Christian world (and the largest part of humanity irrespective of religious beliefs), claimed that people had to struggle against their evil nature by learning and exploring.

Synthesis of Articles on

The three articles in question provide insights into the central aspects of Kantian philosophy of education. These three principles and concepts are gaining momentum in the present-day education systems of various countries, especially in the western. These milestones include the focus on the learner and individuals’ capacity and creativity, the balance between objectivity and subjectivity in education and the very nature of knowledge, as well as the moral component of education. Modern educators should make sure that learners are able to realize their potential to the fullest and be willing to contribute to the development of their communities and societies. Paying specific attention to morality is the backbone for the success of modern education as contemporary people need moral landmarks to grow as individuals and members of society. Kant’s philosophy on education that was developed ce3nturies ago can help teachers and officials shape the education system of their country, making it more effective.

Preliminary Thesis Statement

Kantian philosophy of education had a considerable influence on the development of the education system in Germany in the nineteenth century, contributing to the rise of Germany as a powerful state, and can facilitate the development of education in modern Germany.

Kantian Philosophy of Education, Bildung Tradition, and the Rise of Nationalism in Germany in the 19th Century

Annotated Journal Articles on Kantian Philosophy of Education, Bildung Tradition, and the Rise of Nationalism in Germany in the 19th Century

Alves, A. (2019). The german tradition of self-cultivation (Bildung) and its historical meaning. Educação & Realidade, 44(2), 1-18. 

This article provides insight into the essence of the so-called Bildung tradition in Germany in the first part of the nineteenth century, as well as its historical evolution and origin. The Bildung was deeply rooted in Kantian philosophy of education with its focus on individualism and, at the same time, social responsibility. Kant’s categorical imperative encompassed people’s constant growth and eagerness to self-develop. The process of self-development was the end in itself rather than potential practical benefits (such as economic wellbeing). The Bildung tradition emerged at the end of the eighteenth century but was manifested in the education system of Prussia in the nineteenth century. Instead of the focus on occupational education, a more general approach was employed. Young people were to become autonomous and creative life-long learners willing to contribute to the development of their country. The Bildung contributed considerably to the rise of nationalism or rather became one of its instruments. Educated people were proud of pertaining to a particular class of knowledgeable people and strived to create a potent state. People’s individual capacity and abilities were tools to build the nation and make it exceptional, among others, which became the basis of German nationalism in the second part of the nineteenth century. The Bildung tradition was also based on the ideas of Enlightenment. During that period, people valued knowledge, the empirical approach, and the scientific method, which were also some of the pillars of the Bildung (Smith, 2020). The present article draws parallels between the different perspectives that reigned before, during, and after the Bildung tradition.

Sanderse, W. (2019). Does neo-Aristotelian character education maintain the educational status quo? Lessons from the 19th-Century Bildung tradition. Ethics and Education, 14(4), 399-414. 

The present article dwells upon the Bildung tradition, its essence and influence on the development of educational philosophy in Germany and other countries. Although the Bildung tradition was formalized in the first part of the nineteenth century, its roots are in Kantian philosophy introduced at the end of the eighteenth century. The key figure in the development of the Bildung was Herder, who was Kant’s student. Kant considered the role of Kultur that was later transformed into the ideas of Bildung. Kant saw education as the domain for bringing individuals’ capacity and creativity for the formation of a cosmopolitan society. The Bildung ideals were closely linked to such principles as the role of the educator was to help students to learn how to learn and become creative and responsible citizens. At that, the cosmopolitan element vanished in the course of time, and the ideas of nationalism started prevailing in the second part of the nineteenth century. The focus was on fostering effective and creative learners who would contribute to the development of the nation in order to ensure its domination. The Bildung tradition is also related to the Aristotelian or rather neo-Aristotelian philosophy of education. Aristotle believed that learners were to be taught to reason and be ethical (Smith, 2020). Although the Bildung ideals were also based on general morality and major ethical norms rooted in Christian values, the German education system became a tool for the rising nationalism.

Immonen, V. (2020). Bildung as the process of cultural heritage: two traditions under a single name. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27(4), 344-355. 

The present article is concerned with the Bildung tradition in Germany and Finland with a focus on the historical development of these concepts. Although the author pays much attention to Finnish interpretations and the effects the Bildung tradition had on the development of Finnish education, the article is valuable for the present research. Immonen (2020) traced the development of the ideas of Bildung and explored the essence of the tradition. The author stressed that the Bildung could be referred to as the process of achieving self-realization invested by individuals, nations, and humanity. The tradition is associated with people’s strive for constant growth and perfection that is based on rationality and Christian values. The Bildung emerged in Germany and became a prevailing paradigm due to the close ties between the German church and government. It is stated that the education system had never been void of direct influences of the government and the church, so the moral aspect of education was always primary. Immonen (2020) also notes that the influence of Kantian philosophy on the development of the Bildung was apparent, but the author emphasized that Hegel’s ideas were more visible in the tradition. The article shows that the Bildung was the set of beliefs that were based on Christian values and associated morality. Enlightenment and religiousness were balanced in the Bildung although these two domains of human life seem complete opposites (Smith, 2020). The education system was shaped by the new cultural shift (Bildung) that was used as an instrument to build a nation.

Synthesis of Articles

Kantian philosophy of education was the basis of the Bildung tradition that emerged in Prussia in the nineteenth century. The new trends, such as nationalism grew alongside the Bildung tradition, while the latter soon became a tool for the empowerment of the former. The Bildung tradition became the ground for considerable changes in the German education system. Instead of fragmented training of particular skills that covered specific groups, the Germans introduced comprehensive education that covered a larger part of the country’s population. The focus on the moral development was key to the rise of nationalism. First, learners were taught basic Christian values that were the core of morality, but in the second part of the nineteenth century, the ethics element were turned into the transmission of the nationalistic agenda. Thus, the education system and underlying philosophies are the basis for a nation’s evolvement, but they can be used for the spread of ideas that can lead to adverse effects for a country and even entire humanity.

Preliminary Thesis Statement

Kantian philosophy of education was one of the pillars of the Bildung tradition that promoted self-realization and contribution to the development of the nation and was turned into an instrument of the empowerment of German nationalism in the nineteenth century.


Bible: New International Version. (2011). Biblica, Inc.

Smith, S. J. (2020). Windows into the history and philosophy of education. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

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