Sunday, January 13, 2008

Will the Humanities Save Us?

Although I disagree with the thesis presented in it, this is an interesting NYTimes post by Stanley Fish. I am more on Kronman's side, as characterized by Fish:

The humanities do this, Kronman explains, by exposing students to “a range of texts that express with matchless power a number of competing answers to this question.” In the course of this program – Kronman calls it “secular humanism” – students will be moved “to consider which alternatives lie closest to their own evolving sense of self.” As they survey “the different ways of living that have been held up by different authors,” they will be encouraged “to enter as deeply as they can into the experiences, ideas, and values that give each its permanent appeal.” And not only would such a “revitalized humanism” contribute to the growth of the self, it “would put the conventional pieties of our moral and political world in question” and “bring what is hidden into the open – the highest goal of the humanities and the first responsibility of every teacher.”

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