Between Two Stools

It is impossible to talk about how a person should be educated until you can say what a person is. All education is an attempt to demonstrate to someone, usually young, how he ought to exist in the world. Much can be made of that “ought.” A modern philosopher might define a human being as homo sapiens, that is, “thinking man.” The development of thought, then, becomes the focus of education because modern philosophy believes that man ought to exist by thought. (This view is rapidly falling out of favor, actually, and is being replaced by a new form of tribalism, in which thought isn’t as necessary as following the habits of whatever group you happen to be in. Modern education has fallen between two stools. On the one hand, modern schools teach that thought is the key to existence. On the other, they teach that persons are inextricably bound to their history, family, and culture. In one view, thought is the basis of reality. In the other, thought is optional. No wonder modern education is a mess.)

~from the proposal for an imaginary classical school

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