Liberal Learning

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-05:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Phaedo, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“To save the phenomena” of heavenly motions by undergirding them with rational, that is, mathematical, hypotheses—that is said to be the problem Plato set for astronomers in a passage from the “Republic” frequently referenced by Daniel Sherman. His own project is, as I understand it, the inverse one: to save the Platonic ideas by [...]

Why Letter-Writing Is Essential to the Good Life

By |2019-10-10T12:06:28-05:00October 10th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Writing|

In an age when we have come to expect things to happen for us instantaneously, letter-writing is a school for patience. Letter-writing also has the mysterious power to convey not just the words but the presence of the person. It has been the nourishment of romantic love for ages. In writing letters, we participate [...]

Europe Without Europe

By |2019-10-11T12:43:13-05:00October 9th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Education, Europe, Glenn Arbery, Senior Contributors, Wyoming Catholic College|

Europe would not be Europe without the current of tradition once inculcated by classical education. It is such an education we must seek to preserve. Though its immediate effects are not manifest, without it the culture would be ceded to those who wish to shape it for a radically secular agenda, perhaps even a posthuman [...]

Matthew Peterson’s Not-So-Modest Proposal on Student Debt

By |2019-10-07T23:25:08-05:00October 6th, 2019|Categories: David Deavel, Economics, Education, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Everybody agrees student loan debt is a large problem. In the United States approximately $1.5 trillion is currently owed by around 45 million people at an average of over $32,000 per borrower. While relatively few borrowers owe more than $75,000, that relatively few includes over 4 million people. Another 24 million borrowers owe more [...]

Traditional Education & the Future of Europe

By |2019-10-02T15:25:41-05:00October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Conservatism, Europe, Glenn Arbery, Liberal Arts, Senior Contributors, Western Tradition, Wyoming Catholic College|

Near the end of his recent book, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (highly recommended), the English philosopher Roger Scruton makes a very interesting observation about what is possible in America but not in Europe. As he puts it, the burden of American conservatism has been to define the customs and traditions most [...]

Visions of a Botanist: Explorations & Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest

By |2019-09-30T15:15:09-05:00September 30th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Science, St. John's College, Western Civilization|

In Wade Davis’ “One River,” every issue that a sound-minded person most cares about is joined under a novel aspect: sanity and the way to illumination, visibility and the manifestations of the divine realm, physicality and the gateway to transcendence. One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest, by Wade Davis (New [...]

Of Apples and Arsenic: Classical vs. Progressive Education

By |2019-09-25T22:04:50-05:00September 25th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Education, Liberal Learning, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg|

The classical Christian educator and the progressive educator have radically different ideas of education. The two camps have virtually no real common ground concerning education’s means and ends—and the difference between the two is the difference between apples and arsenic. If we reminisce about the days when PBS aired the Anthology documentary on The [...]

The “Eumenides” of Aeschylus: Whole-Hearted Patriotism & Moderated Modernity

By |2019-09-23T23:56:06-05:00September 23rd, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Literature, St. John's College|

Aeschylus’ Eumenides is a play about an institutional innovation and a paean to the goddess of the city. It is an account of the origin of Athens’ Supreme Court and a love poem to Athena and her people and places. This poet, however, loves for cause and with a thoughtful passion. This people, the [...]

Understanding Imagination

By |2019-09-18T21:54:46-05:00September 18th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Science, St. John's College|

There is in our world a strong strain of relentless reductionism and blind rationalism whose inevitable complements are mechanical creativity-mongering and thoughtless image-proliferation. One antidote would be a revivified attention to the reason of images. Understanding Imagination, by Dennis L. Sepper (546 pages, Springer, 2013) When Professor Rosemann invited me to this colloquium—small in [...]

Avoiding the Latest Fad: Elbert Hubbard’s “Scrapbook”

By |2019-09-13T14:53:57-05:00September 13th, 2019|Categories: Books, Education, Liberal Learning|

College, as most know it, is Elbert Hubbard’s Scrapbook. Nobody reading this has heard of Elbert Hubbard, but he is education today. His “scrapbook” promised four thousand years of education in one slim volume with beautiful binding. How big was he? Luminaries judged your education if you did not have the Scrapbook on your end table. My [...]

Education With Range

By |2019-09-11T10:14:15-05:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Glenn Arbery, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Wyoming Catholic College|

Liberal arts students are “generalists in a specialized world,” and as a result, they bring many analogies to bear on the problems that they will face on a daily basis in the world of work. And those analogies come from what they actually study, from Homer to field science to statistical analysis to metaphysics. Back [...]