Monday, June 08, 2009

George Parkin Grant on Education: Teaching "purpose", teaching "wisdom"

This evening, I briefly paused from grading examination papers, and I picked up a book I recently borrowed from the library. It is a collection of philosophical essays by George Parkin Grant. Here is an excerpt that struck me.

Reason is at first only present in us potentially and not actually. It needs to be developed, and developed by education. Education is seen as the process by which a person comes to think clearly about the proper purposes of human life. (How different this is from our modern technical education which is simply concerned with teaching people how to get on, never teaching them where they are getting to.) In the old theory of education, when a man began to see what was the ultimate purpose of human life, he was said to be wise---to have the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom was then the purpose of education. It was the condition which men reached through reason, as they came to know what were the purposes in human life truly worthy of a rational soul.

George Parkin Grant “Natural Law” Philosophy in the Mass Age, 1959

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