Erik Kenyon
Friends Academy
In an early dialogue, On Order, Augustine sets out a program for thinking about thinking. Through such reflections, students attain self-knowledge and prepare for philosophical inquiry. The liberal arts are useful for this project, insofar as they provide opportunities for thinking, yet they are not ultimately necessary. I suggest that On Order’s program, correctly understood, provides a rationale for Augustine’s beginning but never completing a set of works on the seven liberal arts, and that his approach has contemporary relevance. Current discussions of the liberal arts move between concerns for particular content, which after a canon war may seem political or arbitrary, and useful skills, which reduce the liberal arts to quasi-vocational programs. Augustine’s focus on rational activity escapes the content/skills dilemma and gives us a fresh perspective on the liberal arts’ value.
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DOI 10.1177/1474022212460838
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Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.Ray Godfrey - 2006 - British Journal of Educational Studies 54 (2):262-263.
Arts libéraux et philosophie dans la pensée antique.Ilsetraut Hadot - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 176 (1):101-104.

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