Prescribing The Life Of The Mind: An Essay on the Purpose of the University, the Aims of Liberal…

Paperback | January 15, 1996

byCharles W. Anderson

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A distinguished political philosopher with years of experience teaching in undergraduate liberal arts programs, Anderson shows how the ideal of practical reason can reconcile academia’s research aims with public expectations for universities: the preparation of citizens, the training of professionals, the communication of a cultural inheritance. It is not good enough, he contends, to simply say that the university should stick to the great books of the classic tradition, or to denounce this tradition and declare that all important questions are a matter of personal or cultural choice.  By applying the methods of practical reason, instead, teachers and students will think critically about the essential purposes of any human activity and the underlying arguments of any text.

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What are the purposes of the university? What should be the aims of liberal education? With phrases like "cultural relativism", "political correctness", "cultural literacy", and "canon wars" buzzing through the halls of academia and of government and appearing almost daily in heated public debates, these are important questions. With g...

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A distinguished political philosopher with years of experience teaching in undergraduate liberal arts programs, Anderson shows how the ideal of practical reason can reconcile academia’s research aims with public expectations for universities: the preparation of citizens, the training of professionals, the communication of a cultural in...

Charles W. Anderson is the Glenn B. and Cleone Orr Hawkins Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His earlier books published by the University of Wisconsin Press are The Political Economy of Modern Spain and The Political Economy of Mexico, co-authored by William P. Glade, Jr.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:190 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:January 15, 1996Publisher:University Of Wisconsin Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299138348

ISBN - 13:9780299138349

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What are the purposes of the university? What should be the aims of liberal education? With phrases like "cultural relativism", "political correctness", "cultural literacy", and "canon wars" buzzing through the halls of academia and of government and appearing almost daily in heated public debates, these are important questions. With good will and common sense, Charles W. Anderson enters the fracas. He argues that teaching students to think, by developing their capacity for practical reason, can provide a unifying mission for the university and an integrating theme for the curriculum. A distinguished political philosopher with years of experience teaching in undergraduate liberal arts programs, Anderson shows here how the ideal of practical reason can reconcile academia's research aims with public expectations for universities: the preparation of citizens, the training of professionals, the communication of a cultural inheritance. It is not good enough, he contends, to simply say that the university should stick to the great books of the classic tradition, or to d