Liberal Arts Essay

1060 WordsMar 17, 20085 Pages
Lack of Liberal Arts When I started this class I hadn’t the slightest idea of what the liberal arts really were, or why I was even in that major. As far as I knew general studies was the perfect explanation. Only after reading Liberal Arts and Liberal Education by Christopher Flannery and “Only Connect…” The Goals of a Liberal Education by William Cronon I was able to take our class discussions and formulate a concrete decision of my own. The history is rather basic and you cannot dispute the facts, its what has happened since the twenty-first century that is disputable. Robert Livingstone once described a liberal education as one that “aims at producing as perfect and complete a human being as may be.” An education “which aims at earning a living or making money.” Christopher Flannery focuses on the idea that liberal education is not “the acquisition of technical skill – job training – but with learning how to live well” (Flannery 1). He teaches us about the German technological advances in 1945 and about the Bolshevik extermination of the Kulaks in the twentieth century. He talks about the living tradition of higher education and the tradition of the liberal arts being “the seven pillars of wisdom”. From the hierarchy of disciplines, trivium and quadrivium, to the unifying principle of the humanities to the revolution of modernity where education to the highest good was replaced by education to the lowest denominator; Flannery is compelled to list the history of the various disciplines relations to one another. William Cronon takes the opposite approach to teaching his readers about the liberal arts. He seems to prefer less the historical facts and more the contemporary applications of a liberal education. He enjoys the roots of the words involving liberal arts, taking them back to Sanskrit roots. He poses a lot of questions about the core values of education

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