Juan Zaragüeta and the Origins of Philosophy of Education in Spain. A Pedagogue between Two Worlds

Gonzalo Jover Olmeda, Xavier Laudo Castillo y Conrad Vilanou Torrano


This paper looks at the institutional origins of the Philosophy of Education in Spain through the study of Juan Zaragüeta, first Professor of this discipline in the thirties in the Spanish universities. Zaragüeta was trained in part at the Higher Institute of Philosophy at Louvain. He represented a link of continuity between the two worlds in which the institutionalization of pedagogy took place before and after the gap of the Spanish civil war. Nevertheless, the continuity was early truncated.The paper analyzes the presence of the courses of Philosophy of Education taught by Zaragüeta at the Section of Pedagogical Studies of the University of Madrid, and the conversion of their content into Fundamental Pedagogy.

The authors argue that the basis of this identification was the revival of Thomistic philosophy and synthetic view of knowledge promoted by Cardinal Mercier, that Zaragüeta experienced in Leuven and led him to characterize pedagogy as a social science.

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