Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Few Things

FLG was reading J S Mill the other day and found this sentence fascinating.    He is not quite sure why he hadn't noticed it before:
It is a bitter thought, how different a thing the Christianity of the world might have been, if the Christian faith had been adopted as the religion of the empire under the auspices of Marcus Aurelius instead of those of Constantine.

He also really liked this list of biases that afflict people when investing.

Lastly, FLG nodded his head in agreement with this piece.

It happens every semester. A student triumphantly points out that Jean-Jacques Rousseau is undermining himself when he claims “the man who reflects is a depraved animal,” or that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s call for self-reliance is in effect a call for reliance on Emerson himself. Trying not to sound too weary, I ask the student to imagine that the authors had already considered these issues.
...
In campus cultures where being smart means being a critical unmasker, students may become too good at showing how things can’t possibly make sense. They may close themselves off from their potential to find or create meaning and direction from the books, music and experiments they encounter in the classroom.

FLG reflexively and certainly unfairly places the blame for this on the Left, as this type of "critical thinking" is turned time and again against authority, history, and tradition.

2 comments:

Jacob T. Levy said...

"Trying not to sound too weary, I ask the student to imagine that the authors had already considered these issues."

This is why I think Straussianism has been very successful as a teaching strategy, even though it's been much less successful as a research agenda. My dear young smart-ass, please consider that *just maybe* the books aren't subject to quick and clever refutation by quick and clever smart-asses: that's an important moment in teaching the great books to smart students, and it's a moment that Straussians are particularly good at.

FLG said...

JTL:

Wholeheartedly agree.

 
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