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False Enlightenment via Academia

False Enlightenment via Academia
September 05, 2011, 08:42:44 PM
I am attending a liberal arts university. One of my instructors has this to say about the liberal arts:

Quote from: CENSORED
Study of the liberal arts is “liberating” in many respects.
   With the liberal arts, the human mind can begin to liberate itself from ignorance and bias, and begin its life-long journey to greater understanding of itself and of the world.

Study of the liberal arts offers any person the possibility to live “the life of the the mind”

source: Her lesson.

I do not believe that by merely studying many subjects, one becomes embezzled by wisdom. It seems like fake profundity. After all, society pushes the young to achieve wealth via education. Parallel to this phenomenon, politicians are forcing people to be "well-rounded", despite true versatility being a rare occurrence. Is the Dunning-Kruger Effect gaining a momentum of tidal proportions?

Education is, of course, not the only culprit. In spite of that, this makes me wonder if we are generating people who believe they are intelligent, because they are slightly educated in multiple fields. Go ahead and let loose whatever opinion you have, be it directly or indirectly related to this post.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 05, 2011, 09:38:44 PM
Liberal arts assimilated into a neo-liberal framework. Be an expert of the liberal paradigm and its delusional, ivory tower theories, or get left behind. It's become dumbed down over time and hasn't maintained its original purpose because of a degrading society's influence on it and its influence on society. Keep in mind the purpose of liberal arts has always been suspect since it helped usher in the Enlightenment and has consistently questioned social order from the Renaissance to now.


slightly educated in multiple fields.

I read just as much if not more outside of class than attending class. My area of independent study is narrow, however, there is one area not directly related to my majors that I believe some people (Anus types) need to familiarize themselves with and that's economic theory, while keeping an eye on what's happening in the economy.  Just about everything else under the liberal arts umbrella are non-issues, i.e., gender and minority studies, the bulk of psychology and sociology, etc.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 05, 2011, 10:53:23 PM
Liberal arts assimilated into a neo-liberal framework. Be an expert of the liberal paradigm and its delusional, ivory tower theories, or get left behind.

I am trying to avoid this and use it for my own ends. My school is a great place to delve into linguistics for example.


there is one area not directly related to my majors that I believe some people (Anus types) need to familiarize themselves with and that's economic theory, while keeping an eye on what's happening in the economy.


Agreed. It is my view that economics are as important as values, because in a lot of ways, values can little more than channel commerce. That is to say, there are certain elements of commerce that are intrinsically attached to human behavior. Additionally, I am interested in the limits of modern capitalism and the way perceived value is used as an objective criterion.

I have been hesitating to post economically-related material here in Chasm.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 06, 2011, 06:47:36 PM
Charles Murray wrote a book that has material related to this subject.  It's called Real Education.

I have very little personal concern for or opinions about the liberal arts, as I'm a student of mathematics and science.  Sorry I can't add anything significant to the discussion.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 06, 2011, 07:26:50 PM
Charles Murray wrote a book that has material related to this subject.  It's called Real Education.

I have very little personal concern for or opinions about the liberal arts, as I'm a student of mathematics and science.  Sorry I can't add anything significant to the discussion.

A book is significant.Thanks.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 06, 2011, 07:56:07 PM
Charles Murray wrote a book that has material related to this subject.  It's called Real Education.

I have very little personal concern for or opinions about the liberal arts, as I'm a student of mathematics and science.  Sorry I can't add anything significant to the discussion.

A book is significant.Thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Killed-Homer-Classical-Education/dp/1893554260/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315362842&sr=1-1

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 06, 2011, 08:04:15 PM
Liberal arts assimilated into a neo-liberal framework. Be an expert of the liberal paradigm and its delusional, ivory tower theories, or get left behind.

I am trying to avoid this and use it for my own ends. My school is a great place to delve into linguistics for example.



That wasn't a suggestion. I was merely pointing out the attitude of the majority of liberal arts professors and society at large towards students who are attaining a higher education. We share the same end in this regard.

My advice to anyone who is looking into a liberal arts school is go to a small one located in a conservative community. Also, don't rely solely on your classes for education. You can learn just as much on your own time.  



there is one area not directly related to my majors that I believe some people (Anus types) need to familiarize themselves with and that's economic theory, while keeping an eye on what's happening in the economy.

[/quote]Agreed. It is my view that economics are as important as values, because in a lot of ways, values can little more than channel commerce. That is to say, there are certain elements of commerce that are intrinsically attached to human behavior. Additionally, I am interested in the limits of modern capitalism and the way perceived value is used as an objective criterion.

I have been hesitating to post economically-related material here in Chasm.
[/quote]

Please do.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 06, 2011, 08:16:34 PM
Just about everything else under the liberal arts umbrella are non-issues, i.e., gender and minority studies, the bulk of psychology and sociology, etc.


Don't know what you mean here. The history of both psychology and sociology can't simply be regarded as "liberal". There are important schools that are rather conservative, in fact, a good deal of classical sociology is a reaction against the Enlightenment.


I have been hesitating to post economically-related material here in Chasm.

Please do.

I second this. Please do so

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 08, 2011, 10:37:28 PM
I just wish that the liberal arts spent more time teaching methods of interpreting subjects such as history and literature. I think the first step should be on gaining the tool set necessary in order to formulate your own means of understanding the subject matter, somewhat like learning formulas before tackling math problems. You first follow a strict step-by-step procedure for solving the problem and eventually develop your own shortcuts and alternative techniques to achieve the same ends, albeit in a way more fitting for your thought process.

Once these methods are established I think that a liberal education is definitely a good idea, as long as the focus remains on figuring out how to process all the data available on a certain subject matter before inundating yourself with all the data therein. Knowing how to filter out what is irrelevant and then being able to gain insight through what remains is far more important than the quantity of different things you know about different subjects.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 09, 2011, 04:06:52 PM
Reading books is good, but speaking for myself I can't remember most of the content after I just read it, and when I finish the book I can only outline some ideas.

As nietzsche and schopenhauer said reading can be a vice, and reading per se means nothing.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 10, 2011, 08:55:17 AM
Are there any academic subjects, apart from the purely factual, in which this is not the case?

I had been really looking forward to taking liberal arts subjects at university, but had a similar let-down to that described in this thread. They're not there to impart you with wisdom at all, despite what the texts that epitomise their subjects would have you believe.

Most other subjects are pretty dry, with certain exceptions that you could just as effectively read for yourself, so that what makes up the course is just high school level drudgery (just when I thought I was out...).

So, which are the best subjects to study at university and why?

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 10, 2011, 11:19:34 AM
Just about everything else under the liberal arts umbrella are non-issues, i.e., gender and minority studies, the bulk of psychology and sociology, etc.


Don't know what you mean here. The history of both psychology and sociology can't simply be regarded as "liberal". There are important schools that are rather conservative, in fact, a good deal of classical sociology is a reaction against the Enlightenment.


I wasn't referring to either subject's history, but what the universities turned them into.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 22, 2011, 03:00:27 PM
Are there any academic subjects, apart from the purely factual, in which this is not the case?

So, which are the best subjects to study at university and why?

The point is to gain the means to make as much positive change as possible, amirite? I don't think the particular subject is as important as what you are capable of doing with it. I think you need to look at the pros and cons of your situation and figure which subject to study in a manner that recognizes your particular limitations and advantages.

One way to do this is to look at the best programs that your university has to offer. While I think there is a great deal of truth in the idea that "education is only what you make of it", the resources available to you and success rates of alumni are certainly worth considering as well. There are better forms of nurture, aren't there?

I'm considering computer science for this reason. Many in my family work in the field, so I'm hoping that this will also help direct me towards a more beneficial career path. In addition, I can see value in computer technology despite also knowing many ways it can be abused. I'm worried about ending up at a shitty job doing shitty work, but I think this is possible in any line of work.  

(re-posting because my last reply never showed up)

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 23, 2011, 12:44:12 AM
Are there any academic subjects, apart from the purely factual, in which this is not the case?

So, which are the best subjects to study at university and why?

The point is to gain the means to make as much positive change as possible, amirite? I don't think the particular subject is as important as what you are capable of doing with it. I think you need to look at the pros and cons of your situation and figure which subject to study in a manner that recognizes your particular limitations and advantages.

Still though, it seems that certain subjects, while important in themselves, cannot be properly studied in a university environment, while for others a university environment may still be appropriate.

The implied decision is not just which subject to take, but what route in general to take to make this change that you mentioned. Many don't know themselves or there options well enough early on to make the best decisions on their own.

Quote
One way to do this is to look at the best programs that your university has to offer. While I think there is a great deal of truth in the idea that "education is only what you make of it", the resources available to you and success rates of alumni are certainly worth considering as well. There are better forms of nurture, aren't there?

I'm considering computer science for this reason. Many in my family work in the field, so I'm hoping that this will also help direct me towards a more beneficial career path. In addition, I can see value in computer technology despite also knowing many ways it can be abused. I'm worried about ending up at a shitty job doing shitty work, but I think this is possible in any line of work.  

(re-posting because my last reply never showed up)

The point you made about seeing the value to computer science is an important one. You must be able to see the value to your chosen path, and you must choose it because of that value. If you don't know why you are doing what you are doing, apart from other saying you should, perhaps you are not going the right way.

Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
September 23, 2011, 09:32:46 PM

Still though, it seems that certain subjects, while important in themselves, cannot be properly studied in a university environment, while for others a university environment may still be appropriate.


I've come to think that philosophy is a subject that is not appropriate for a university environment.

You can experiment with chemicals, problem solve using a calculator, analyze a text, but are the tools for the study of life really available in a classroom? You can study philosophers and their terminology, but even this not philosophy itself. I'm not saying that it isn't possible, but there also is a greater tendency for subjectivity to distort the truth when your object of study is so abstract. Even worse is that this subjectivity is likely of the modern nature that is so despised here.

There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. - Thoreau