Thursday, March 25, 2021

John Henry Newman and the Liberal Arts

David Whalen at Real Clear Education.

"Newman argued throughout his writing, especially in his The Idea of a University, that educated people should cultivate what he called a 'philosophic habit of mind.' This 'philosophic habit' was essentially one that could see human life and the world comprehensively—the kind of mind cultivated by what we now call the great books. He valued the great growth in specialized learning occurring throughout the 19th century, but he understood that the ability to digest this new learning required an antecedent, broad comprehension or philosophic habit. A well or liberally educated person, he argued, is able to relate new knowledge to what he or she already knows, and thus see how this new knowledge fits into the broad outline of learning and culture. But this broad comprehension and habit of mind, he saw, was rapidly being lost."

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