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Yes, the Great Books Make Us Better People

The New York Times Opinion: “Roosevelt Montás came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a child, got his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia and ultimately came to run its Core Curriculum program. This is a slate of courses required of all Columbia undergraduates that includes a major component on what is commonly referred to as the Great Books. Now, he’s written a combination memoir and call to arms. In “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation,” Montás explains why he fears, as many have, that universities have come to put more value on, and resources into teaching, the sciences and more readily marketable skills, as opposed to emphasizing the mind-expanding and personal development that students gain from a rigorous colloquy around certain hallowed texts. Specifically, he stipulates, “The animating argument of this book is for liberal education as the common education for all — not instead of a more practical education but as its prerequisite” and adds, “I want nurses, computer scientists, accountants, engineers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and professionals of every kind, to be liberally educated.”…”

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