The Aims of Liberal Education

In John Boyer, ed., The Aims of Education (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1997), 81-106.


What, then, could be left for the aim of liberal education if we exclude professional training, research and scholarship, general broadening and culture, the arts of learning, and familiarity with the intellectual tradition? I have already hinted at my answer: Not the adding of new truths to the world, not the transmission of old truths to the young, butĀ the cultivation in each of us of the disposition actively to seek the truth and to make the truth our own. More simply, liberal education isĀ education in and for thoughtfulness. It awakens, encourages, and renders habitual thoughtful reflection about weighty human concerns, in quest of what is simply true and good.

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