The Meaning of a Liberal Education

The Meaning of a Liberal Education

The Meaning of a Liberal Education

The Meaning of a Liberal Education

Excerpt

Most books that deal with the subject of education, and there are many, are concerned with the training of the young. Much is said about educational methods but very little about content. There is discussion, also, of the effectiveness of institutions, schools and colleges, and the interest of the State in education. This book does not deal with such matters.

It is concerned with other problems. What is an educated person like? How does he differ from the uneducated? Does he think differently and, if so, why? We shall be empirical in our study. We shall study persons who are generally recognized as outstanding educated minds and ask what it is that characterizes them. Is an educated person one who is like Socrates, Erasmus, Montaigne, Goethe, Arnold, Santayana?

The theme of this book is that education is more than information, or skill, or propaganda. In each age education must take into account the conditions of that age. But the educated mind is not a mere creature of its own time. Education is emancipation from herd opinion, selfmastery, capacity for self-criticism, suspended judgment, and urbanity.

It is often believed that education, adult education in particular, is an avocation or an interest to occupy the individual in his leisure time, like music or stamp collecting.

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