Liberal Learning

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

By |2019-10-07T23:25:08-06:00October 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 |2019-10-02T15:25:41-06:00October 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 |2019-09-30T15:15:09-06:00September 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 |2019-09-25T22:04:50-06:00September 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 |2019-09-23T23:56:06-06:00September 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 |2019-09-18T21:54:46-06:00September 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 |2019-09-13T14:53:57-06:00September 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 |2019-09-11T10:14:15-06:00September 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 [...]

Image, Being, and Form in the Platonic Dialogues

By |2019-09-09T16:01:00-06:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Modernity is best apprehended as being in a ruptured continuum with Greek antiquity—a continuum insofar as the terms persist, ruptured insofar as they take on new meanings and missions. That perspective makes those who hold it avid participants in the present. Jacob Klein was in the last year of his nine-year tenure as dean [...]

Classical Education Without Tears?

By |2019-09-05T23:48:22-06:00September 5th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Education, Modernity|

Classical education to be sure offers much that is wonderful. But the most important discoveries come by effort that is often painful. A joyful tour of the “true, good, and beautiful” without pain is likely a superficial substitute for a real education. When I see T-shirts and bumper stickers that declare, “I survived Catholic schools,” [...]

What Has Athens To Do With You?

By |2019-08-12T12:29:46-06:00September 2nd, 2019|Categories: Art, Classics, Culture, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

The humanly full life is concretely local and intellectually wide, to be lived in a face-to-face community whose members can talk to each other about anything, where nothing of human interest is interdicted; where no one owns a specialty so that others have to venture opinions with the disclaimer, “Of course, that’s not my [...]

The Ecstasy of Love

By |2019-08-26T21:23:06-06:00August 26th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Stewart Umphrey’s “Complexity and Analysis” presents a sober analysis of ways of going beyond oneself, especially in love; its conclusion presents the union of integrity with transcendence in the “sober madness of philosophy.” His careful descriptions and distinctions trace out incompleteness as a human condition. Those of our alumni who had really good Republic [...]