2020-04Thematic Section
Modern Socratic Dialogue and Resilient Democracy: Creating the Clearing for an American Bildung


This article puts forth Modern Socratic Dialogue as a pedagogical tool for cultivating an American Bildung. Beginning with Michael Hogue’s work on “resilient democracy,” an associational ethos that is vulnerable and based on our lived uncertainty. To further establish this American Bildung, I investigate what it means to be American. Drawing from the works of Michael Walzer and Gloria Anzaldúa, I establish that “American” means unfinished, pluralistic, and embraces ambiguity. The question of how to cultivate this pluralistic, ambiguous, and vulnerable Bildung is framed by the freedom and social bonds of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s theory of Bildung. For an American Bildung to flourish, freedom and social bonds can be presented and practiced in the form of Modern Socratic Dialogue – “truths” are created by the community of interlocutors, and problems and solutions are based on the experiences of the participants.


Bildung, democracy, education, Modern Socratic Dialogue, pragmatism, Wilhelm von Humboldt, American identity

How to cite:

Mueller, Laura. “Modern Socratic Dialogue and Resilient Democracy: Creating the Clearing for an American Bildung.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 4 (2020): 83-104. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0042.


Laura Mueller
Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages, West Texas A&M University
2403 Russell Long Blvd. Canyon, TX 79015, USA


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