More than a decade ago, Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind raised the philosophical stakes of the debate concerning the proper role of the study of the great books in higher education. Bloom's argument for the Western tradition employed both the rhetoric of knowledge for its own sake, and that of the broadly political uses of education. But the question of the precise relationship between the intellectual and the moral-political ends of liberal education was not Bloom's theme; though he clearly opposed the political radicalization of the curriculum espoused by many who styled themselves post modernists, he may not have adequately addressed their contention that all education is deeply political. The essays in America, the West and Liberal Education attempt to advance our understanding of the proper purposes of liberal education in America by exploring the relationship between the free pursuit of truth and the practical ends embedded in a particular tradition or political community.
Ralph C. Hancock is professor of political science at Brigham Young University.
Chapter 1 Introduction: America, the West, and Liberal Education Chapter 2 Liberal Education and the Idea of the West Chapter 3 Liberal Education in the Confines of the Liberal Tradition Chapter 4 Diversity, Canons, and Cultures Chapter 5 Tocqueville on Liberal Education and American Democracy Chapter 6 Conservatism, Liberalism and the Curriculum: Notes on an American Dilemma Chapter 7 The Young, the Good, and the West Chapter 8 The Religious University and Liberal Education Chapter 9 Conclusion: Of Liberty and Liberal Education Chapter 10 Index Chapter 11 About the Contributors