- From 1802 to 1805 Herbart was an instructor at Göttingen, where he taught as a professor extraordinary from 1805 to 1809. On the recommendation of Alexander von Humboldt, the naturalist, traveler, and statesman, Herbart was appointed in 1809 to the chair of pedagogy and philosophy at Königsberg, formerly occupied by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. For 24 years Herbart remained at Königsberg; in 1833 he returned to Göttingen as a professor of philosophy, remaining until his death eight years later.
- Herbart's work is of particular interest in that, having developed a theory of ideas--in other words a philosophy--he then developed a theory of how to teach ideas: a pedagogy. In both of these respects he exerted a lasting influence, reflected in the work of such men as Ludwig Strumpbell, the philosopher; Robert von Zimmerman, the philosopher and aesthetician; and Otto Flügel, philosopher and theologian. Herbart's influence on higher education was strongly felt in the United States, where it resulted in emphasizing the adjustment of the student to society through the study of literature and history, at a time when mathematics and the classics were considered all-important. According to Herbart's method of teaching, new ideas must be presented in such a way as to connect them vitally with ideas already possessed by the pupil. His voluminous literary production was published in 12 volumes in 1850. English translations include The Science of Education (1892), A B C of Sense Perception and Minor Pedagogical Works (1896), Application of Psychology to the Science of Education (1898), Letters and Lectures on Education (1898), and Outlines of Educational Doctrine (1901).
Died August 14, 1841