Liberal Education as Problem Identification: The Case of Elections
One argument against liberal education is that it’s irrelevant. That objection is typically raised by people engaged in careers in business and allied techno-fields. Ask a typical business leader—especially one puffed up by entrepreneurial pride—what you want students to learn in college, and the answer often is: Identifying problems.
But it turns out that liberal education is great for identifying problems. Take political philosophy, for example. It ‘s almost nothing but identifying problems, problems that admit of no easy or complete solutions. There are, for example, the problems of democracy, which are basically downsides that go with the democratic territory that can only be mitigated. And how to mitigate them is actually rather counterintuitive to those who don’t know a lot about and really reflected on the various democracies that have existed. The medicine for what ails democracy, for example, is hardly ever more democracy.
One feature of democracy that we’re thinking a lot about these days is elections. The giants of political philosophy don’t agree on how to think about elections, but they tend to agree that they are both beneficial and dangerous to democracy. But with all their problems, we democrats these days could hardly do without elections.
Harvey Mansfield, quite the relevant political philosopher, gives us a quick primer on how a freshman reading list in political philosophy can get anyone up to speed on the various identifiable features of the problem of elections. You’ll have to read his whole (brief) article to really learn something. But for those whose learning style is PowerPoint or TED lecture or blog post, I will reduce each of the six philosophers to a single proposition (also known as bullet point).
If you think about it , these six insights—which, of course, contradict each other in important ways—are indispensable for thinking about the election that’s about to come upon us. If you think even more, you notice that all the “wisdom” dispensed by our experts and analysts turns out to be dumbed down and otherwise distorted versions of one of these insights.
So, as Mansfield points out, a freshman reading list properly understood can make anyone with eyes to see a master identifier of problems.
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.
- The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
- Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
- Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.
- Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
- Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
- It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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