Thursday, August 23, 2012

Matthew Crawford on higher education

A philosopher and mechanic, on higher education:

When the point of education becomes the production of credentials rather than the cultivation of knowledge, it forfeits the motive recognized by Aristotle: “All human beings by nature desire to know.” Students become intellectually disengaged.

Maybe we can say, after all, that higher education is indispensable to prepare students for the jobs of the information economy. Not for the usual reason given, namely, that there is ever-increasing demand for workers with more powerful minds, but in this perverse sense: college habituates young people to accept as the normal course of things a mismatch between form and content, official representations and reality.

Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (New York: Penguin, 2009).

comments: 1

Geo-B said...

The smart-alecky rejoinder in 8th grade geometry was "when are we going to use this?" It has become the mantra of modern-day vocationalism: Don't waste my time with stuff I'm not going to need, I'm 18 and I've picked my profession for life, I'm never going to change jobs, I'm never going to pursue another interest, critical thinking sounds like a commie-plot, I've paid my money, give me my credentials, fer crying out loud!