The Liberal Arts undercut by their own mechanization (in print modernity)…

“Here we could look at a dominant understanding of a long succession of great books, from antiquity through the Middle Ages—books whose authors would include the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Dante, and Aquinas, among others.

For these writers, the appropriate disposition toward the world is not the effort to seek its transformation, but rather to conform human behavior and aspirations to the natural or created order. Hence, the primary purpose of education is learning to live in a world in which self-limitation is the appropriate response to a world of limits. Education in virtue is a central goal—particularly the hard discipline of the human propensity toward excess, especially in the forms of pleonexia or pride…

Arguments against this form of education became common among elite thinkers in the early modern period, who sought to justify a new kind of science that had as its aim the expansion of human control over nature…Centuries later, this line of argumentation would be employed in the United States in defense of disassembling existing curricula oriented to the study of the great books.”

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