In Focus – Semitrivial Pursuits

Roger Scruton: Kant; Oxford University Press; New York.

Peter Singer: Hegel; Oxford University Press; New York.

J. O. Urmson: Berkeley; Oxford University Press; New York.

Michael Howard: Clausewitz; Oxford University Press; New York.

Peter France: Diderot; Oxford University Press; New York.

Peter Stansky: William Morris;  Oxford University Press; New York.

While most things liberal tend to be perverse, distorted, or somehow malign, we do, however, support one thing that has the word liberal appended to it as an adjective: liberal education. Certainly, in this age of com­puterized, technocratic specialization, the world of bytes and bauds, wherein a degree in en­gineering translates into big bucks and hefty perks and a degree in one of the humanities often leads–if not to the door­–to a low paying job in a once­ unimagined profession (e.g., a history major pushing furniture at Sears), there is something to be said for those people who try to internationalize the Arnoldian "best that has been known and thought." They deserve support, not saliva tests. But there is a danger inherent in the contem­porary situation if the alternative to the specialist, the person who knows a great deal about a few things, is seen as being the...

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