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DuBois quote

I stumbled across an interesting quote today:

The purpose of education is not to make men and women into doctors, lawyers and engineers; the purpose of education is to make doctors, lawyers and engineers into men and women.

--- W.E.B. DuBois


I'm curious whether people agree with this quote. Why or why not?

It's also probably worth asking what you think counts as education. Are there things you'd get out of taking my freshman philosophy course you wouldn't get by reading Plato and Aristotle on your own? (The cost of the books is truly dwarfed by tuition even at a state school.) What does this have to do with what we mean by education? Is the instructor crucial? Working alongside fellow students? The discussion and exercises, the feedback, the evaluation - what is it that makes a certain set of experiences an education?

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Sep. 16th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Of course, men and women cannot become doctors, lawyers and engineers (or educators, pastors or scientists) without being educated to be such. Yet there is something to that quote anyway: people who are educated to their profession and ONLY to their profession will miss out on many of the things that help to make humanity human. That's why there is a whole slew of subjects that fall under the heading of "humanities": history, art, music, literature and...philosophy.

As for your question: what a person gets out of a class, rather than out of simply reading books on his/her own is the company of others with whom to discuss the meanings of the books--others with whom they are sharing the reading, and most especially he/she would miss out on the experience and wisdom of the teacher, who can bring her own perspective of many years of studying the texts intensively, and of experiencing those texts with other classes and students.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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