Education: How to Fail & Take It

In his modest way, Raphael Demos is an American success story. A Greek immigrant who worked his way as a janitor to his Harvard Ph.D., Demos now holds Harvard's imposing Alford professorship of natural religion, moral philosophy and civil polity (one predecessor: Josiah Royce). But in the current Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Demos has an un-American doctrine to advocate: it is high time, he thinks, that educators paid some attention to failure stories.

"In life, there is misery as well as happiness, failure no less than success; and an education which equips us for only...

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