Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Columbia College Alumni Association
We have a big stake in higher education. That’s obvious. If I didn’t have this commitment I wouldn’t be in this line of work; if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have signed up for this course! But what is the nature of our stake, exactly? What is education for? Do we look to it to provide skills, specialized knowledge, refreshment, wisdom, or virtue? Does it have a social role and social effects? Does it mitigate social distinctions and hierarchies or legitimate them? And what are the implications of education for politics? Does it confer particular privileges or particular duties on those who benefit from it? We think education is a good thing – but why, and for whom? Political philosophers, ancients as well as moderns, thought hard about just these questions. Now, when “expertise” is under attack and the value of humanistic learning very much in question, it seems worthwhile look back to some famous statements about what education – and the educated – can and should do.
Session 3: Learning and legitimation