Monday, February 02, 2015

The Day the Purpose of College Changed

AN excellent article in the Chronicle:
I've lived this shift, beginning as a student with the classical philosophy of education, and then teaching under the Reagan philosophy. I pity younger generations. Mine may have been the last to have a glimpse of what real education is about.

The Day the Purpose of College Changed

After February 28, 1967, the main reason to go was to get a job

1967: As governor of California, Ronald Reagan argues that taxpayers should not be "subsidizing intellectual curiosity."


Luke said...

I can definitely resonate with that; after all, The Veritas Forum was created in 1986 to push back against the instrumentalization of higher education and reintroduce "the big questions", albeit in an explicitly Christian way.

On the other hand, I am aware of a lot of questionable ideology being taught in universities; sociologist Peter Berger alludes to this:

>     Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (A Far Glory, 30)

How much of this nonsense was being funded by the taxpayer? I don't mean that Marxism is studied at all; instead I mean the quasi-religious manner in which it is studied, at least per Berger (I can also quote from his Facing Up to Modernity).

I'm also reminded of Steven Pinker's claim that in the early 1900's, intellectuals had swallowed the na├»ve tabula rasa conception of human nature, per his TED talk on his book The Blank Slate. I'll bet that this can be traced not only to a decline in art (which Pinker notes in his TED talk), but also in the humanities in general. How did we get human nature so wrong, that the predictions at Milgram experiment § Results were so terribly wrong? Perhaps if we had a better idea of what the results would be, we would have found reports of the Holocaust more believable and stepped in sooner.


David Dangle said...

I'm a young man, and I would like to have an classical education. Just this year I started reading St. Thomas Aquinas, and I just found out I have no idea how logic works. Luckily, I know a bit about Grammar because I accidently (best accident in my life) took Latin in high school.

I think that the lack of Trivium in education is the reason most young people believe such self-contradicting non-sense. They don't know how to think. I have personally experienced this realization. In high school we learn a lot of facts, but we are never shown how to think about those facts. My generation's lack of critical thinking makes us more susceptible to a tyrannical government...and the garbage of New Atheism.

Christi pax,