What Use Is Instrumentalism?: Conservative Pragmatism in Liberal Learning

Education and Culture 32 (2):18-34 (2016)
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The utilitarian and consumerist model of higher education undervalues the importance and worth of the liberal arts in higher education, both globally and locally. Globally speaking, it does not take long to flip through a national newspaper or to click through the Chronicle of Higher Education to find either some call for the academy to train students for the current set of jobs available, especially for which there is high demand, low supply, and a national need, or critical responses to such a call. Andy Delbanco wrote in The Chronicle Review of the problem, citing our “need to respond to the public demand for some demonstrable utility in what we teach: literature, history, philosophy, the arts.”1 How many...



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Seth Vannatta
Morgan State University

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