Ipsa scientia potentia est! Die Idee der universitas zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft [Ipsa scientia potentia est! The Idea of universitas Between Past and Future]


At the beginning of the 21st century Peter Watson seduces us to read his bestseller: Ideas. A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud. According to Watson, one of the key moments in the evolution of mankind is the awakening of systematic intellectual development, as well as the attempts at the systematization of the resulting knowledge. Various initiatives in different periods of history have led to this systematization. However, one of them has had a particularly strong influence on man and his history: the idea of universitas. The idea of the university has formed the core of mankind’s intellectual development since the Middle Ages, albeit with varying intensity over the centuries. The influence of the university will certainly continue to grow. Watson recognizes a turning point in the history of the idea of universitas in the systematic process of Americanization and the influence of the typical pragmatic view on the role of universities in the life of the whole world. But to find its proper identity, Europe must return back to the idealized models of the university of Humboldt, Fichte, Schleiermacher, Jaspers, Derrida, Waldenfels and Mittelstraß. Before this can happen, the old continent will be forced to make many of the same mistakes as made in the New World, mistakes from which the Americans are learning, or have already learned.



German (de)


Michel Henri KowalewiczJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 3, Issue 1 (2015), pp. 61–99
The Idea of Power