Freedom, Responsibility, and the Liberal Arts

By |2020-06-11T12:46:33-05:00June 11th, 2020|Categories: Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Liberalism, Liberty, Politics, St. John's College|

Pericles was proud of Athenian freedom and insisted it was worth dying for. Our ancestors shared that pride and that insistence. But they and he were proud, not of the absence of discipline or authority, but of the fact that in a society of free citizens discipline and authority are self-imposed. The other day [...]

Castalia and St. John’s College

By |2020-06-03T09:22:02-05:00June 2nd, 2020|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Imagination, Liberal Learning, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“Waldzell” is the name Hermann Hesse gives to the school in a “Pedagogical Province” brought to life in the book called “The Glass Bead Game.” St. John’s College is an American school with two campuses. The features in which Waldzell is like St. John’s as well as those in which it differs are responsive; [...]

A Unique Liberal Learning Summer Opportunity: Why Not Now?

By |2020-06-06T14:27:43-05:00June 1st, 2020|Categories: Education, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, St. John's College, W. Winston Elliott III|

Becoming educated is a process of becoming intellectually free so as to be capable of thinking for oneself, engaging in ongoing learning and inquiry, and achieving inner freedom. St. John’s College believes that the life of the mind is crucial to full human flourishing. Loyal readers of The Imaginative Conservative have been given many [...]

Liberal Education and the Free Mind

By |2020-05-13T15:36:19-05:00April 21st, 2020|Categories: Culture, Education, Essential, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

Liberal education has as its end the free mind, and the free mind must be its own teacher. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Scott Buchanan as he asks a series of questions to discover the fruit, in individual character and thought, of a liberal arts education. —W. Winston [...]

Mathematics and Liberal Education

By |2020-03-03T13:23:08-06:00March 3rd, 2020|Categories: Classical Education, Education, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, St. John's College|

For most liberal arts colleges, mathematics courses are simply modern math stuck on to a “humanities” program. But if liberal education is not just meant to familiarize students with classics of the humanities, or the polish of culture, but to free the student to find the truth for himself, shouldn’t math be just as [...]

Eva Brann on Happiness and Learning

By |2020-05-06T00:22:41-05:00January 6th, 2020|Categories: Classics, Eva Brann, Happiness, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

There is a moment in every class when students’ eyes light up, or go wide, and they have a moment where it clicks and makes sense, where you can see they are learning something that they will never forget—these are the very highlights for Eva Brann, longtime tutor at St. John's College, Annapolis. It was [...]

Kant’s Imperative

By |2019-12-29T14:20:10-06:00December 29th, 2019|Categories: Culture, E.B., Ethics, Eva Brann, Immanuel Kant, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Reason, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Virtue|

What makes freedom possible is beyond all knowing, but what makes the moral law possible is freedom itself. The fact that we have a faculty of freedom is the critical ground of the possibility of morality. I have called this lecture “Kant’s Imperative” so that I might begin by pointing up an ever-intriguing circumstance. [...]

Some Advice to Fellow Lovers of Liberal Learning

By |2019-12-26T16:02:58-06:00December 26th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

A preliminary function of a liberal education must be to serve as a purgative, a cleansing, of those who wish to be free. By its means we can cleanse ourselves of our undigested and unconscious prejudices. When it first came home to me that I would not be a tutor at the Graduate Institute [...]

The Enduring Legend of “Antigone”

By |2019-12-16T11:53:37-06:00December 16th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Sophocles, St. John's College|

Greek myths have had an unbroken authority over the imagination of the West, and among them the Antigone legend is paramount in both shaping and expressing the moral constitution of Western humanity. Antigones, by George Steiner (Clarendon Press, 1984; Oxford Paperback, 1986; 328 pages) Anyone who has reread the Antigone about as often as is [...]

Love, Peace, and War in Italy: A Memoir

By |2019-12-09T21:20:32-06:00December 9th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Europe, Eva Brann, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College|

Douglas Allanbrook’s memoir, “See Naples,”  is not only a memorial to the many dead, but also an exorcism, half-a-century later, of some particular ghosts. See Naples: A Memoir of Love, Peace, and War in Italy, by Douglas Allanbrook (A Peter Davison Book, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York and Boston, 1995) Douglas Allanbrook came to [...]

Jacob Klein: European Scholar and American Teacher

By |2019-12-02T23:47:19-06:00December 2nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Meno, Plato, St. John's College|

Jacob Klein presents the model of teaching best fitting a stable community of liberal learning. He was a master of the somewhat mysterious art of leading from behind—by solicitous listening, by intimating questions, even by expectant silence. The subtitle of my talk might be “Liberal Education: Program and/or Pedagogy?” The reason is that I think of [...]

Pre-Socratics or First Philosophers?

By |2019-11-25T23:33:00-06:00November 25th, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Heraclitus, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Socrates, St. John's College|

The Pre-Socratics may be thought of as deficient, lacking something, primitive in the derogatory sense. But there is also the opposite perspective: These men were not primitive, without sophistication, but primeval, deeper, more receptive to origins. Think how peculiar this appellation is: “Pre-Socratics.” A whole slew of thinkers, poetical, aphoristic, prosaic—condemned to be known as [...]