Alchemical Thoughts

The Value of the Humanities in this time

Posted on: March 5, 2009

It seems like you can't watch the news, especially in academia, without someone making some negative statement about the humanities. It's the usual drivel of "what do the humanities contribute that is practical?" Well besides teaching you how to be a decent human being, probably the best value lies in the fact that learning language is within the humanities, and without mastering language, you can forget about the sciences, economics, so on. As I have a humanities degree (I am an English school teacher by training and now academic librarian), I have been looking over the issue now and then. Here are some of the items I have seen on this as of late:

This is not going to get easier over time as the economy worsens, and people really latch on to the idea that going to college should be a form of vocational training. Things are bound to get interesting.

Update note (3/7/09):

  1. "Students will not only have to learn how to recognize when somebody is speaking rot (the last election should have provided plenty of practice) but also how to have nimble, adaptable minds.  At its best, a liberal education prepares a student to be a lifetime learner. "
  2. "A trained mind and a willingness to pursue ideas wherever they might lead us is essential to a democracy."

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