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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 40, 1998

Philosophy of Values

Mark Painter
Pages 76-80

Justifying Philosophy and Paideia in the Modern World

If Paideia means education in the classical sense, that is, education of the whole person, then authentically justifying such education in the modern world is extremely problematic. We are first drawn to practical defenses of a liberal education, that it is in itself of service and useful, both to society and to the individual. However, a practical defense of Paideia in the classical sense simply comes across as feeble and even a bit desperate (that is, if it escapes sounding pompous) and every savvy student knows it. Far better, it seems, to take courses aimed at general problem solving, or at honing critical thinking skills, or at developing socio-political sophistication, than to read Shakespeare or Plato.

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