Education: Up with the Humble Humanities

Thinking should become a "basic skill"

The number of graduates in liberal arts such as history, English and philosophy has been dropping dramatically. College students, worried about finding jobs after graduation, flock to business, computer science and pre-med courses. Between 1969 and 1979 the number of college freshmen who told questioners they thought it important to develop a philosophy of life shrank from 81.7% to 52.9%. Furthermore, researchers estimate that as many as 20% of today's high school seniors are functionally illiterate.

Such portents of intellectual ill-health pour from the 192 pages of The Humanities in American Life (University of California Press;...

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