Classical Learning and Higher Education

Classical Learning and Higher Education

The New Learning that Failed: On the value of classical learning

To add to the files of items diagnosing the ills of the modern academy. An interesting article that examines what exactly has been lost in universities since the classical idea of education has been jettisoned.

A couple of excerpts:

In acknowledgment of such frequent controversies and loud revisionism, the compromise is that �Western civilization� continues to metamorphose into something known as �World Civilizations�: India, China, Africa, and the New World merit roughly the same attention in the university core curriculum as the West, inasmuch as they are merely �different,� hardly less influential in the formation of Western and now global civilization. The end result is that today�s students cannot distinguish the role of Plato, Aristotle, or Cicero in the later development of political thought from the general irrelevance of Native American councils or indigenous African tribal meetings. Indeed, to do so would require both reading The Republic and having the courage to suggest informal tribal decision-making is not constitutional government.

Somewhere in all this two truths of the ancient world that had once served as the bedrock of the university were lost. The West, alone of world cultures, was self-critical and introspective, curious about other civilizations, ready to turn its own empirical standards on itself, always attempting to match its idealism with actual fact�Socrates teaching about the vanities of the wealthy, Antigone the bias of the male chauvinist, Aristophanes the contradiction of democratic egalitarianism, or Tacitus and Sallust the use of Western military power for nefarious purposes. Indeed, professors and students are now denouncing perceived Western pathologies only through a tradition of Western empiricism and free expression of thought, unavailable elsewhere.

Read the whole article here.

h/t Melissa Wiley

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1 comment
  • I’m sorry for the turmoil and lack of sleep and not being there when you needed a listener on the phone! Glad the rest of the day resolved into a better place..