On the occasion of the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Basedow’s Appeal to the Friends of People the author appraises the topicality of the pedagogical ideas of philanthropism. He gives a brief history of philanthropism and the characteristics of its outstanding representatives. As regards the ideas of philanthropic pedagogy the author discusses primarily its solution of the problem of the aim of education. Felicity or human happiness, which the philanthropists proclaim as the general aim of education, requires a detailed definition so as to be usable as the aim of education. The philanthropists progress from purely eudemonistic definition of happiness to finish toy defining it as the »perfection of man«. The author evaluates critically both these aims of education as taken over from Christian theology and appreciates positively the fact that they result in the ideal of a harmoniously perfect man engaged in social life. The author goes on to give psychological and sociological reasons for the philanthropists’ educational principles. He shows how the philanthropists were influenced by the contemporary trends in psychology and underlines the great influence exercised by the ideas of the Enlightenment and those of J. J. Rousseau about the freedom of man, which finds expression in the philanthropists’ attitude to the child as a free and independent human being. This attitude is particularly apparent in the motivation of learning, in the philanthropists’ controversy about the significance of play in learning, in their notion of the pupil’s independent action and that of reward and punishment. The modernity of the philanthropists can be seen in their efforts to base pedagogy upon the observation of the child and the educational process. In the chapter about the philanthropist’s ideas of rational upbringing and instruction the author shows how they differentiated between general education and the training for a »certain position« and how they thought about the mutual correlation between the two. He also refers to the utilitarian and encyclopaedical character of the philanthropists’ idea of education, who in this connection raised the problem of »basic knowledge«, the se lection of knowledge and the criteria of this selection. He also deals with the importance that the philanthropists attached to physical education, to volitional and ethical education, to the role played by instincts in the life of man and in education, to the care for health, and to labour education. He emphasizes the philanthropists’ social commitment, which was progressive with some and conservative with others as can be seen from their attitude to the Church and the French Revolution. In conclusion the philanthropists’ movement is appraised, in spite of its contradictory features, as a significant progressive pedagogical movement, which tried to find solution to a great number of pedagogical problems that have remained alive up to the present time.