Cultural Heritage of East Central Europe

Autor: Wojciech Roszkowski

Wydawnictwo: Instytut Studiów Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk

The concept of ‘culture’ is a relatively modern invention. It stems from the Latin term cultura meaning cultivation. Cicero was the first to use this word in a non-agricultural context. In his Tusculanae Disputationes he reflected on the ‘cultivation of the soul’ (cultura animi). Later this term was rarely used in this sense but as of the 17th century more and more authors considered culture an intellectual and not an agricultural phenomenon. Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694) described culture as a vehicle overcoming natural barbarism. He was followed by German philosophers of culture. Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) argued that human creativity was as important as human rationality and called attention to national cultures. The works of German romantic philosophers were mainly focused on the specificity of the German culture, a factor that was to unite divided German statehoods. At the same time, however, Herder and his followers noticed other national cultures, including first of all those of East and Central Europe. It is therefore noteworthy that the early philosophical reflection on culture was closely connected with the specific traditions of East and Central Europeans.

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