A liberal arts education

This Oakeshott reference from Colorado College’s website, notable because many so-called “liberal” arts colleges are only nominally “liberal” in the Oakeshottian sense. Check out Oakeshott’s essay “A Place of Learning” and other essays of his from The Voice of Liberal Learning. Paul Franco has written an essay for the “Companion” entitled “Un Début dans la Vie Humaine: Michael Oakeshott on Education“.

Endless conversation

It’s not just talk. It’s “an endless unrehearsed intellectual adventure,” the British philosopher Michael Oakeshott told a crowd at the college in 1975 during a week-long visit that left him delighted and impressed by the faculty, the students, and the magnificent setting.

It’s a conversation, Oakeshott said, “in which, in imagination, we enter into a variety of modes of understanding the world and ourselves.” Here, he saw unlimited opportunities to learn and to reflect on learning. This is the tradition you’ll draw upon as you navigate this place of learning, block by block.

Spend an intense three and a half weeks reading Shakespeare, then another pondering the social value of video games, then perhaps another examining RNA with a professor who shares the joy of a science-glimpse into what makes us human. You’ll write, you’ll read, you’ll paint or sing or calculate or contemplate. You’ll take a deep breath and at some point it will all make sense. You’re learning to understand, and you know it’s a lifelong conversation.