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Modern Civilisation as Discussed in the Works of Franjo Rački

Tomislav Markus

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 528 Kb

str. 243-265

preuzimanja: 788



The author analyses the views of the Croatian historian, politician and publicist Franjo Rački (1828-1894) on modern technological civilisation, with an emphasis on the social role of intellectual research. Rački was a supporter of a socially engaged intellectual agency, considering the isolation of intellectuals from the main social and political processes of their place and time to be irresponsible. He accepted the basic principles of the Western European educational system, but considered that they should be given to each nation in its own language, respecting its historical, political and cultural particularities. Intellectual research was considered as a means of accelerating the process of Croatian national integration, especially among the middle bourgeoisie, but with the tendency towards expansion into wider social strata. He condemned the isolation of intellectual research and the rejection of its social functionality. At the same time, Rački pleaded for the preservation of the autonomy of intellectual research, warning of the danger of external influences, especially those political. He did not explain how these two tendencies – wide social applicability and internal autonomy – might be reconciled.
In Rački’s ideology, unilateral idealisation of intellectual research (“scholarship”) was particularly present. In that, he followed the dominant tendencies of the nineteenth century, in which the belief in “scholarship” and technique was at its height. From this premise there followed also the acceptance of Francis Bacon’s programme, with the idea of “conquering nature,” overcoming all limits and continually “emancipating” mankind from ecological limitations. However, Rački was not ready to accept all the consequences of such an approach without reservation. He rejected the equation of progress with mere technical expansion and materialist life-orientation, as well as the tendencies towards secularisation and laicisation of intellectual research and society as a whole. He emphasised the importance of ethical and religious values, especially that of principles of truth and justice, which should govern not only intellectuals, but also whole nations. His understanding of intellectual research was primarily ethical, religious and cultural, and not materialistically technical and pragmatic. Simultaneously, Rački rejected also anti-traditionalist tendencies of modern societies and stressed many values of former societies, particularly those linked to the Church, religion and family. He believed that the tendency towards secularisation was not essential for modern societies, but rather an expression of human weakness.

Ključne riječi

Franjo Rački, technological civilisation, Croatian national ideology, scholarship, Christianity, progress

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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