Yes people should study the humanities because it's contribute to an informed sense of community by enabling us to learn about and become participants in a common culture, shareholders in our civilization. But our goal should be more than just a common culture -- even television and comics can give us that. We should, instead, want all students to know a common culture rooted in civilization's lasting vision, its highest shared ideals and aspirations, and its heritage. Professor E. D. Hirsch of the University of Virginia calls the beginning of this achievement "cultural literacy" and reminds us that "no culture exists that is ignorant of its own traditions." As the late philosopher Charles Frankel once said, it is through the humanities that a civilized society talks to itself about things that matter most.
Jan 13th, 2015
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