Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor

Article excerpt

What would happen if utility trumped liberal arts values in undergraduate education? As I read the articles in the Featured Topic section of this issue, that question continually pulled me like an undertow. It reminded me of a recent conversation about the insights of two books that were de rigeur reading in my own education: Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. Neither paints a desirable picture of an imagined future society. Yet, time has shown that Huxley's dystopian vision comes closer to the realities of the late twentieth/early twenty-first century than does the story of Winston and Big Brother. Such was the conclusion of that conversation, as we ticked off the ways in which Huxley's predictions won, hands down.

But, whatever "the realities," a counterpoint pulls toward a different world of possibilities. Here, looking at the future, our writers assert the value of a humane and holistic tradition of higher education in the arts and sciences. Theirs is a vision of the liberating aims of education for responsible citizenship, capacious imagination, a democratic social contract, joy in life's multifacetedness, and a passion for justice in care for the others who share our planet-and our neighborhood, to name a few qualities that represent a human ideal. …

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