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Liberal Learning

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Taken in its widest sense education is simply the process by which the new members of a community are initiated into its way of life and thought from the simplest elements of behavior up to the highest...
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1c-d. The activity of this higher logos, dialectic itself, is beyond Glaucon's present reach and no part of the preliminary survey. To set out on the dialectical road would be to see "no longer an image......
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What is the point of studying the humanities? The question reflects the current climate among humanist educators: anxiety shading into despair. As enrollments decline, programs are cut, and tenure diminishes, mainstream educational institutions are becoming uncomfortable places for teachers...
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1a. After the cave image Socrates considers with Glaucon the actual education of the philosophers. He begins significantly: "Would you like now to see in what way such men will come to be born and how...
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“The Child is father of the Man,” wrote William Wordsworth, marveling at the enchantment of the child’s early experience and delight in play. The formative period of childhood cultivates in the young a love of life,...
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In a recent essay, I argued that the ills facing social psychology today are the product of an obsession with method that elevates the standards of the natural sciences to how inquiries ought to unfold in...
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4a. Let us return to the invitation to reflection that is extended to Glaucon by the sectioning of the realms "as if" they were a line; he must wonder why, as has been said, the
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1. Socrates yields to Glaucon. He will speak, though not of the Good itself but rather of its "offspring," which is most like it (506e). Socrates reminds Glaucon of the...

Some educators are beginning to worry that the wired generation is going to give up serious reading altogether. Judging from our experience here at St. John’s, the future of reading is not at risk. Our...
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A. 1. Glaucon's introduction to philosophy will itself have a prelude. He will discover for himself the meaning of "opinion," doxa.  Opinion in its various meanings determines the musical key of the different parts of the dialogue by...
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Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Richard Weaver as he explores how a liberal education for individualism is an education for goodness. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher The greatest...
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I want to begin by saying how my theme is related to justice. Plato and Aristotle often connect justice with wholeness. And it is wholeness—the whole of virtue and the whole of a political community—that...
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1a. We shall now show that, like Heracles, Socrates uses music to "civilize" his young guardian. He uses not the traditional music of the poets but his own restoration of true music; he shows...

A good slogan, whether it’s comical or serious, catches your attention. Slogans satisfy our innate desire for simplicity and pith. Sometimes they even rhyme, which implants them deeply...