The persistence of the Western civilization and the condition for its revival is based on fidelity to the metaphysical and moral principles from which it originated and which preserve its imperishable novelty. These principles also constitute the first and final measure of man’s education – his theoretical knowledge and the moral choices he makes. This constitutes the basis of classical education.

Today, unfortunately, classical education is almost completely forgotten. Man, his education and upbringing, have been subordinated almost entirely to utilitarian goals. Education at all levels – from elementary to university level – is oriented solely towards the training of professionals who become service providers in various fields of the economy, business, industry. Being a good person, leading a good life, which is not the same as unlimited consumption, but rather a life in which one transcends oneself to pursue goals that exceed him, are no longer areas of interest of education. 

Education consists of two elements: upbringing and teaching. The goal of upbringing is the moral improvement of the pupils so that they act morally. This is done through the upbringing in virtues, or moral skills. Without them, there can be no morally good action. The second element in classical education is teaching. It was based on the seven liberal arts (septem artes liberales), which in turn were divided into two groups: grammar, rhetoric and dialectics (trivium) and geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and harmony – music (quadrivium).  The trivial arts were the basis of education. However, the word “art” should not be understood as narrowly as we understand it today – as a cultural field in which artistic creativity is practiced. The Latin word “ars” (art) comes from the word “arto”, meaning to tighten, limit, set rules. This setting of rules allowed the mind to be trained in such a way as to be as effective as possible in reading reality.

These disciplines were called free (liber) for the reason that in antiquity they were practiced by free people, whose lives were not subordinates but masters of utility. It was rather the slaves who were engaged in perfecting the tools of daily use. This most fundamental stage of education, based on the trivium, was not about acquiring knowledge and gathering information, but about improving the cognitive apparatus, shaping it in such a way that it not only knew how to see things as they were, but also how to describe them using the right words, justify one’s view and understandably communicate it to others.

The goal of the Center for Classical Education is to seek and identify methods to apply the components of classical education to the processes of upbringing and teaching in the modern world. The CCE researchers will demonstrate the validity of educating for moral fitness, drawing among others on recent developments in psychology and neuroscience. The Center will also seek ways to apply the principle of the seven liberal arts at the contemporary stage of knowledge, which certainly requires a significant reformulation of this indisputable achievement, rather than simply copying it, and seeking an analogous application. The above activities of CCE are conducted in parallel to the research carried out at the CCPh.

dr Filip Ludwin

dr Filip Ludwin

Vice-rector for education, Dean of the Faculty of Law

Doctor of Law, university lecturer, author of scientific publications, editor-in-chief of the scientific journal “Legal Culture”, expert and analyst at the Confederation of Non-Governmental Initiatives of the Republic of Poland and the Hipolit Cegielski Center for Legal, Economic and Social Analysis. His scientific and professional interests are mainly in the history of political and legal thought, political system theory, civil society, constitutional law, agricultural law, philosophy, and logic. In his doctoral dissertation, he addressed the issue of the influence of natural sciences, especially evolutionary biology, on contemporary political philosophy and philosophy of law. In his research work, he also dealt with the principle of separation of powers, the issue of the sovereignty of the people, the ideological foundations of European integration, the thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Hans Kelsen, and Antoni Peretiatkovich, among others.

The aim of the project is to show how classical science was born, what were the sources of scientific reference to the world, what questions the ancients asked themselves, what they knew about man, his nature, the purpose of life, about natural phenomena, atmospheric phenomena, how they answered these questions. The target audience of the project is academia and schoolchildren; therefore, the project involves two levels of implementation. In addition to historical knowledge, students will acquire the skills of posing questions, the method of seeking answers, as well as appropriate and proportionate formulation of the two. The project includes two levels: The first, aimed at high school students, and the second – at university students. It includes lectures and workshops simulating classical educational centers: Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lyceum and the medieval university. Participants learn about and conduct Socratic dialogues and medieval questiones quodlibetales. Part of the class takes place online. Participants receive developed templates and topics, based on which they prepare simulations.

This is a completely innovative presentation of classical educational methods that allow to acquire the skills of factual argumentation, reasoning, and logical thinking. The lectures and workshops also equip participants with knowledge of the cultural heritage of Europe and allow for its application in modern conditions.