Teaching Ideas Through the Classics


The history of ideas has reached a considerable epistemological and methodological maturity, which has also influenced the studies in the history of education. The interaction between the “old” history of philosophy and the new trends of twentieth-century historiography accompanied a renewal of studies in the history of education, in the development of which the overall renewal of the sciences of education was also important. In this renewal, the need to adequately define the nature of ideas and, in particular, of educational ideas, has become central. Similar considerations can be made with regard to the “classics,” one of the most discussed notions also in view of the scholars’ training. The proposal put forward in Italy by Salvatore Valitutti (an important liberal politician and pedagogue linked with the Montessori movement) to promote the study of “ideas” through the reading of Western classics in schools and universities, following the perspective of Mortimer Adler’s paideia proposal, may be useful today to clarify some of the main lines of research and training in the field of the history of ideas.

Article history

Received 02 April 2021. Revised 12 May 2021. Accepted 31 May 2021. Published online 11 July 2021




English (en)


Furio PesciLa Sapienza - University of Rome - Department of Developmental and Social Psychology


Orbis Idearum Volume 9, Issue 1 (2021), pp. 13-30
The Classics and the History of Education