By Mark C Henrie

Students this day have large freedom to settle on the classes they are going to take. With such freedom, notwithstanding, scholars face a urgent hassle: How can they select good? Which classes exhibit the middle of an genuine liberal arts schooling, transmitting our civilizational inheritance, and which classes are in basic terms passing fads? From the smorgasbord of electives on hand, how can scholars in attaining a coherent knowing in their international and their position in historical past? In a sequence of penetrating essays, A scholar s advisor to the center Curriculum explains the worth of a conventional middle of stories in Western civilization after which surveys 8 classes to be had in such a lot American universities that may be taken as electives to obtain such an schooling. This advisor places the easiest within sight of each pupil. writer: Mark C. Henrie Pages: 112, PaperbackPublisher: Christendom PressISBN: 1-882926-42-0

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Extra info for A Student's Guide to the Core Curriculum (ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines)

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At the heart of Plato’s Republic, Socrates recounts the famous analogy of the cave. In this tale, a group of men have been chained down since birth and forced to watch puppetshadows playing on their cave wall. These chained men are like us, Socrates says, but we know that this is true only when we are freed and dragged out of the cave, where we can see the truth of things by the light of the sun. Another fundamental contention of all ancient philosophy is, then, that philosophy is the road to liberation, for only by philosophy can we discover what is—including the life that is best by nature.

Despite themselves, students then parrot the professor’s line. A good way to com- 32 AStudent’sGuidetotheCoreCurriculum bat this natural tendency is to consult several editions or translations of the text and read the introductions. Very frequently these introductions are written by some of the finest literary minds—and if they have any biases, the best way to observe them is to read other introductions. The literature on classical literature is vast, and your library is filled with marvelous introductions to the ancient writers.

Either might provide the inspiration that the philosophy department might lack. Henrie As for supplemental reading, it is no exaggeration to say that Plato is the best introduction to Plato. Try first to read him without the mediation of secondary literature. , 1987) is engagingly written and will entice you into genuinely philosophical reading. F. M. Cornford’s Before and After Socrates (Cambridge, 1932) is always in print and provides good background on Greek philosophy in general. The Republic: The Odyssey of Philosophy, by Jacob Howland (New York, 1993), is a brief reading of Plato’s great dialogue in relation to the broader Greek literary tradition.

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