Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Four-Fold Way through an Undergraduate Education

From my notes about a decade ago:

Though I haven’t really thought it through, it seems to me that a proper undergraduate education ought to give equal emphasis to four components:

1. Expression – Where we have the arts, music and dance, poetry, etc., and physical education.

2. General Education – Where students get a general view of how the world works, from physics through natural and human history.

3. Something Practical – Specialized education in something that would allow the student to earn a living.

4. Some Intellectual Specialization – Where the student can dig-in to something that particularly interests them.

On 1 and 4, some students would naturally gravitate toward an expressive discipline, e.g. fine arts painting. But they really ought to developed some specialized knowledge in an intellectual discipline, whether it’s one relevant to painting (like perceptual psychology) or not (such as microeconomics). And a student who naturally gravitates to a specialization in Medieval European history needs to develop expressive abilities as well.

And so one through all four.

I have the vague sense that this is descended a conversation I had with David Hays some years before that.

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