Education's End Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life Anthony T. Kronman

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
30 Sep 2008
ISBN:
9780300143140
Dimensions:
320 pages: 210 x 140 x 21mm

The question of what living is for - of what one should care about and why - is the most important question a person can ask. Yet under the influence of the modern research ideal, our colleges and universities have expelled this question from their classrooms, judging it unfit for organized study. In this eloquent and carefully considered book, Tony Kronman explores why this has happened and calls for the restoration of life's most important question to an honoured place in higher education.The author contrasts an earlier era in American education, when the question of the meaning of life was at the centre of instruction, with our own times, when this question has been largely abandoned by college and university teachers. In particular, teachers of the humanities, who once felt a special responsibility to guide their students in exploring the question of what living is for, have lost confidence in their authority to do so. And they have lost sight of the question itself in the blinding fog of political correctness that has dominated their disciplines for the past forty years.Yet Kronman sees a readiness for change, a longing among teachers as well as students to engage with questions of ultimate meaning. He urges a revival of the humanities' lost tradition of studying the meaning of life through the careful but critical reading of great works of literary and philosophical imagination. And he offers here the charter document of that revival.

Tony Kronman is Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School. Since stepping down as Dean of the Law School in 2004, he has been teaching in the Directed Studies Program at Yale and devoting himself to the humanities.

"'No question that the humanities are in a bad way in education at the present, and this book offers not just an argument that they should be more highly prized, but a carefully reasoned position of what happened, why it did, and what needs and can be done about it.' Alvin Kernan, author of In Plato's Cave 'Kronman... shows how colleges, in abandoning the profound questions that have perplexed philosophers and writers throughout human history, have betrayed their students, depriving them of disciplined rumination before they're caught up in the urgent business of adult life. In Education's End, he writes that in emphasizing the secular, professors offer no recognition of the spirit and spiritual values.' Washington Times"