Ideas For Everyone: The Virtues of a Liberal Education. Roosevelt Montás

What is the point of a good education? Do we need it to learn a narrow set of skills ro help us get ahead in the workplace, or should knowledge and learning to be used over a lifetime to acquire wisdom that enables us to think more deeply about our place in the world?

This question has profound resonance at a time of angry divides over American politics and moral confusion at elite American universities. The President of Harvard, Claudine Gay, resigned after months of campus unrest and controversy. In December, Gay and two other university presidents faced widespread criticism for their testimony at Congressional hearings about antisemitism on their campuses.

In this episode, we hear from an university educator who makes the case for liberal education that gives students the tools needed to have a deeper sense of purpose. Roosevelt Montás is the author of "Rescuing Socrates: How The Great Books Changed My Life And Why They Matter For a New Generation".

He believes that the ideas and writings of Plato, Socrates, Shakespeare, Ghandi and many others aren't just for a few privileged students. They're for everybody, and that encountering these thinkers as a poor immigrant teenager changed his life.

Montás is senior lecturer in American Studies and English at Columbia University, and director of the Center for American Studies Freedom and Citizenship Program, which introduces low-income high school students to primary texts in moral and political thought, as well as seminars in American Studies including “Freedom and Citizenship in the United States.” From 2008 to 2018, he was director of Columbia’s Center for the Core Curriculum.

"There is a prevailing cultural attitude that liberal education— the study of literature and philosophy — is appropriate only to the elite," Roosevelt tells us. "That is a really pernicious idea." He argues that the students who benefit the most from the foundational wisdom in the "great books" come from poor and marginalized backgrounds.

Recommendation: Richard watched and greatly enjoyed the Anglo-Japanese Netflix TV series, "Giri / Haji", — duty/shame in Japanese— a thriller about a Tokyo detective scouring the London underworld to find his allegedly deceased brother. The series was filmed in Tokyo and London. 

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.