This article is in part an examination of the relationship between the notion of liberal education which underpins such education as that of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). Drawing upon how liberal education has goals of lifelong learning and encourages the desire for human happiness.
The preparation task is to watch and reflect on some videos on the famous ‘Plato’s allegory of the Cave’. For convenience read my article on this TedEd – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave – Alex Gendler. The question is what do you think Plato means by ‘education’, as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is considered to be one of the earliest models of inspirations for the liberal arts education?
Firstly, a liberal arts education has many variations in its meaning, as it can refer to the study of literature, language, art and music history, philosophy, mathematics, history, psychology, and science. However, if a liberal arts education has a wide degree of possible disciplines, and interpretations ‘education’ could draw upon the education of the whole person as in the many different subjects. In order to be a well-rounded person that is worthy to be a free person, being free as in participating in civic life. “The penultimate goal of a liberal-arts education is an independent learner, a person trained in the arts of learning who is thereby liberated from the necessity to depend on others to determine what is true and what is false.” (Herbener, 2002) With the aim toward providing students with a comprehensive education, that encourages a student’s personality and intellectual skills. To read more on a liberal arts education see this Mises Institute article here.
Core purposes necessary for a liberal education are the epistemic, eudemonic, and civic:
There has been, and remains, a “triad” of interrelated core purposes for liberal education: the epistemic (coming to know, discovery, and the advancing of knowledge and under-standing); the eudemonic (the fuller realization of the learner, the actualizing of the person’s potential—classically to achieve individual well-being and happiness); and the civic (the understanding that learning puts the learner in relation to what is other, to community and its diversity in the broadest sense, as well as the responsibility that comes from sustaining the community and the civic qualities that make both open inquiry and self-realization possible). (Harward, 2007)
Because it is good for man to live and flourish and personal property is necessary for any human action by which man can live and flourish, a person has a natural right to own his labor, natural resources that he homesteads, goods that he produces and to use his personal property in any non-aggressive way and to defend his property against aggression. (Herbener, 2002)
Harward, D. W. (2007). Engaged learning and the core purposes of liberal education: Bringing theory to practice. Liberal Education, 93(1), 6-15.
Mises, M. 1949 (2010). Human Action, Scholar’s ed. United States: Yale University Press, Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
Herbener, M. J. (2002). The austrian school in the liberal arts. The Mises Institute. Retrieved [20/05/16] from <https://mises.org/library/austrian-school-liberal-arts>.
Höffe, O. (2010). Aristotle’s “nicomachean ethics” (1st ed.). Boston, Leiden: Brill.
Newman, J. H. (1959). The idea of a university. Garden City, N. Y: Image Books.
Alisdair MacIntyre. (2009). God, Philosophy, and Universities.
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Copyright © 2016 Zoë-Marie Beesley
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