"The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Great Books (Part Two)

Jun 18, 2018, 02:35 PM

Continuing on Allan Bloom's 1987 book critiquing the current fragmented structure of the university that promotes technical and professional education over the ability to think philosophically. Does Bloom's vision require aristocracy, or can a Great Books education be available for all?

Bloom thinks we lack a shared culture and consequently a sense of the common good. He gives us a history of the relationship between philosophy and society starting with Socrates's execution. The university, Bloom thinks, was established following the spirit of Socrates, and has had to negotiate with a more-or-less hostile society ever since. It does this by at least giving lip service to the values of the current society, which in our case means reflecting American values as diagnosed by Tocqueville: practicality, rejection of history, "common sense," all of which are antithetical (according to Bloom) to authentic, philosophical, humanistic thought.

Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Your Citizenship will also get you access to an exclusive follow-up discussion that gets into more of Bloom's comments on Nietzsche, Freud, and Rousseau. This is also available at patreon.com/partiallyexaminedlife. Please support PEL!

End song: "Greatness (The Aspiration Song)" by TC&I; hear Mark's interview with singer/songwriter Colin Moulding on Nakedly Examined Music #74.

#philosophy #education #university #truth #pragmatism #nietzsche #rousseau #heidegger #plato

Go to the blog: http://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2018/06/18/ep192-2-bloom/