School (science)

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In science , one speaks of a school or a scientific school when scientists follow the tradition of thought or the way of working of an important predecessor or when researchers with a similar orientation work together.

Examples of school education

Traditionally in the humanities and social sciences, especially in philosophy and theology, one speaks of scientific schools.

In philosophy, the Frankfurt School became particularly well known in the second half of the 20th century. In philosophy and sociology, it represented a “ critical theory ” of society. As Erlanger school different schools of thought are called, which at the University of Erlangen have arisen, especially the Methodical Constructivism in philosophy of science . At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, two competing forms of Neo-Kantianism played a special role in German-language philosophy: the Marburg School and the Southwest German School .

Philosophical schools are also named after the most outstanding representatives of the tradition of thought, such as the Kantians and Neo-Kantians , Hegelians , Young Hegelians and New Hegelians, as well as the philosophical-political groups of Marxists , Leninists and Trotskyists .

In literary studies, the Konstanz School with its reception aesthetics is particularly important, and in philology, for example, the translation school in Toledo .

From the 1950s onwards , several schools developed in German political science: the Cologne School , the Marburg School and the Freiburg School . In addition to the Frankfurt School, sociology was also shaped by the Cologne Sociological School .

Legal studies, for example, gave birth to the historical school of law .

In recent times, diverse schools have also emerged in psychology and psychotherapy . Their names are often derived from the respective central theoretical approach (cf. Lück / Sewz 2007).

In early medieval research, the so-called Vienna School around Reinhard Wenskus , Herwig Wolfram and Walter Pohl is a formative force in modern ethnogenesis research.

How common the term “school” is in connection with science is shown by the expression Vienna School , which refers to schools from the visual arts and music as well as to other schools from several scientific disciplines.

In the field of medicine, too, there were or are such schools, mostly named after professors, such as the Billroth School in Vienna, the Zenker School and the Sauerbruch School in the field of surgery .

Other scientific schools are named after their university location, such as the Bielefelder Schule , the Leipziger Schule and the Tübingen School , as well as the École de Paris or the École de Lille outside the German-speaking area . Schools also include groups such as the Vienna Circle .

Functions of school education

School education in science can have different conditions and have an impact on innovation - for example, when members of such a school support each other in quotation cartels or in filling chairs . The historically hesitant reappraisal of the role of scientists during the Third Reich was partly due to the fact that academic students tried to prevent damage to the reputation of their teachers, especially when they were involved in National Socialism .


  • HE Lück, G. Sewz: United in diversity. In: brain and mind. Issue 4, 2007.

Individual evidence

  1. Ernst Kern : Seeing - Thinking - Acting of a surgeon in the 20th century. ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 2000, ISBN 3-609-20149-5 , p. 42.