Is Higher Education Worth It—Part 2? Can It Teach Us How to Die?
Peter Lawler is Dana Professor of Government and former chair of the department of Government and International Studies at Berry College. He serves as executive editor of the journal Perspectives on Political Science, and has been chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association. He also served on the editorial board of the new bilingual critical edition of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He has written or edited fifteen books and over 200 articles and chapters in a wide variety of venues. He was the 2007 winner of the Weaver Prize in Scholarly Letters.\r\n\r\nLawler served on President Bush's Council on Bioethics from 2004 – 09. His most recent book, Modern and American Dignity, is available from ISI Books.\r\n\r\nFollow him on Twitter @peteralawler.
So this post is, first of all, a piece of shameless self-promotion. I’m the editor of the best journal in political philosophy and the related fields—Perspectives on Political Science. The most recent issue is mostly devoted to a symposium on the most able, thoughtful, and comprehensive book written on Plato is a very long time—Catherine Zuckert’s Plato’s Philosophers.
One of the contributors to the symposium, Robert Kraynak, asks, in effect, whether Zuckert is more than a mere scholar: “Is she a convinced Socratic or Platonist?”
Zuckert claims, Kraynak reports, that the Socratic view of philosophy “has lessons and applicability for us today as we face the impersonal universe of modern science yet still need to know the human good for the purpose of leading a good and noble life.” Socratic philosophy (at least as presented by and improved upon by Plato) is “the best philosophy,” because “it alone answers the question ‘Why philosophy?’ in a way that stands independently of any cosmology, metaphysics, or scientific view of the natural universe.”
For Kraynak: “The crucial test would be whether or not Socratic philosophy can make people happy in some reasonable sense, especially by overcoming the fear of death and cosmic insignificance….If Socrates provides the best answer for Zuckert, has she learned from him how to be happy in the crucial sense of overcoming the fear of death, or she still afraid of dying like the rest of us?”
It’s that test, Kraynak explains, that shows us whether or “great scholarship and philosophical knowledge” actually do us any good.
I will give Zuckert’s very interesting response in another post.
For now, I will self-indulgently turn to my own observations, in terms of considering whether higher education is worth it.
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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