David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy in the Contemporary World 17 (2):93-104 (2010)
In this essay we argue that attempts to justify the value of the liberal arts in narrowly instrumental ways are a mistake, one that is likely to miss the central importance of a liberal arts education. Of course, we do not claim here that such instrumental justifications are completely wrong, but that in so far as liberal education is defended primarily in terms of enhanced practical outcomes (better paying jobs, saleable professional skills, higher scores on graduate and professional admissions exams, and so on) advocates will fail to articulate one of the most important reasons for study in the liberal arts. We will characterizeliberal education as a practice of reflecting on, discussing, and evaluating the question of what sort of lives I we should lead. Based on this, we then offer whatwe believe is a more promising, more consistent way of justifying liberal education
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