Friedrich Albert Lange was a German philosopher known for his attempt to compile the entire history of materialism up to his time and, moreover, for proposing reforms in the German education system.
Not only did his life pass between the classrooms of German high schools and universities, but he also devoted himself to political struggle by working in journals of opinion critical of the way in which German unification was unfolding.
Below we will see a biography of Friedrich Albert Lange, In addition to entering in more detail on his reflection on how the educational process should be given.
Biography of Friedrich Albert Lange
Friedrich Albert Lange was born on September 28, 1828 in Wald, now in Germanya. He was the son of a Protestant theologian and dogmatic writer Johann Peter Lange. As a child, he settled with his family in Langenberg in 1832, then in Duisburg. Then, in 1841, he moved to Zurich, where his father took up the post of professor of theology that David Friedrich Strauss had left vacant. Lange would study philology and theology in Zurich, especially the doctrines of Hegel and Herbart, in addition to being interested in Kant being in that city.
In 1898 he moved to Bonn to study at his university, In which he will pursue graduate studies in philosophy, German literature, analytical geometry and calculus. Later, in 1851, he obtained his doctorate with his work on metric questions.
After completing his military service in Cologne, he became a professor in an institute in that city and, from 1955, was part of the teaching staff of the University of Bonn. Com “privatdozent”. In 1857 he began to offer materialism courses, but, unable to improve his position as a teacher in Bonn and having little success in his pedagogy courses, he decided to return to Duisburg and work in his Gymnasium (lycée German).
In Duisburg he would teach Greek, Latin, German and philosophy between 1858 and 1862, and it was during this period that he wrote several educational articles for Karl Schmid’s Enzyklopädie des gesammten Erziehungs und Unterrichtswesens.
But Friedrich Albert Lange’s life is not only academic. too much developed an important political activism, getting involved in the new consumer cooperatives and in the supporters of the unification of Germany.
He worked for several months as co-editor in chief of the liberal newspaper Rhein und Ruhrzeitung, which criticized Otto von Bismarck. In 1866 he joined the International Association of Workers, Which will become known, over time, as the First International. A year later, he published the first edition of his “History of Materialism”.
In 1869, he joined the University of Zurich, where he obtained a post of professor. However, he would later move to Marburg to practice this same profession. Being in this city, in 1872, he was already beginning to show signs of illness, a cancer which would be responsible for his death on November 21, 1875.
It is necessary to emphasize that in spite of its last years being sick this did not prevent him to work in its work, trying to finish in the second edition of “History of the materialism”, which would be published in two volumes published in 1873 and 1875.
The pedagogy of Friedrich Albert Lange
Lange has always been very interested in theoretical questions about what the goal of education should be., And what was the best method to achieve this. In fact, even before he started teaching in a Cologne gymnasium, he was already thinking about how to reform the German education system of his time.
He was particularly concerned about the importance that was given to the classics too, in his opinion, in the meantime the study of natural sciences has been neglected, Which were becoming more and more important.
Despite his interest in this issue, and even having contributed to the writing of articles on pedagogy in Encyklopädie des gesammten Erziehungs- und Unterrichtswesens by Karl Schmid, Lange does not seem to have had much of an impact on his contemporaries or on the history of pedagogy., Although his take on it turns out to be something really interesting. When he started working as a “privatdozent” at the University of Bonn, he tried to teach pedagogy courses, but unfortunately did not arouse much interest among his students.
However, there are those who consider this initial disinterest on the part of Lange’s pedagogy to be temporary, given that there are many great German thinkers contemporary to this philosopher who claim to have felt influenced by his work. Among the most notable are Max Weber, Friedrich Paulsen, Paul Natorp and Hans Vaihinger.
Friedrich Albert Lange said that the aim of education should be that of to get the students to become rational and culturalized people once they reach adulthood. To do this, it was necessary to take a retrospective look at the history of education and pedagogy, so that the keys to achieving such a goal could be obtained. With the history of education, it would be possible to understand how social, political and cultural conditions interact in a way that generates specific types of educational environments.
Reach out to free citizens and act with great leadership teachers themselves need to feel actively involved in their community. In other words, teachers should not be isolated from the political situation in which they live or because of the socio-cultural context unfolding in their city or region. Only politically engaged teachers will be able to instill in their students the love of freedom and the love of the fatherland.
Free thinking at school
Friedrich Albert Lange considered that a crucial aspect in a society which allowed free thought was that every social entity should have the right to decide what it wants to teach in school. However, that doesn’t mean that no sort of ideology should be allowed. Lange believed that the state should restrict the appearance of any school in the event that what is being taught poses a real threat to the state’s legitimacy or promotes criminal activity.
While Lange viewed Christian values as an essential part of education, he also believed that there should be no predetermined and unique religious instruction for all German schools. He considers that each school, and in the same spirit with regard to free thought and the subjects to be taught in the classroom, religion must be chosen by the entities which are at the origin of the opening of the school.
Lange considered Christian values to be an essential part of education, although he would later give more importance to the idea that philosophy acquires an important role in the realization of an effective educational process. In addition, he came to consider that the Christian religion should not be imposed, but rather
In Lange’s teaching method, we consider that the balance between the natural talent of the student must be soughtIn other words, these strengths he exhibits and the social stimuli from his family and community environment. He considers that the environment plays an important role in the type of learning that the pupil demonstrates, and can help him to know how to concentrate and orient his learning capacities, in particular in what is given to him well.
He criticizes social Darwinism, believing that there is no need to pay attention to the obstacles to development created by socio-economic inequalities.
- Lange, FA (1857) The History of Raumer’s Pedagogy, New Yearbooks of Philology and Pedagogy, 76: 107–133.
- Lange, FA (1858), The principles of forensic psychology, considering Ider’s manual, Zeitschrift für die Staatsarzneikunde by Adolph Henke.
- Reichesberg, N., (1892), Friedrich Albert Lange as political economist, Berne: KJ Wys.