Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, by Anthony T. Kronman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007, 320 pp., $27.50 hardbound.
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Anthony Kronman’s Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, a defense of liberal education and the core, is spirited, immensely rewarding, and deserving of an attentive audience. That it was produced by a law professor and former law school dean rather than by a specialist in the liberal arts only emphasizes the lack of defenders from within the ranks these days. Unconvinced of the worth of liberal education, its practitioners must increasingly rely on the un-jaded support of bewitched outsiders. This is not to deny that any well-educated person might have something compelling to say about liberal learning. Liberal education has never been the exclusive provenance of a set of academic disciplines called “the liberal arts.” Yet it is a sobering fact that its defense increasingly appears to be left to “amateurs.” Thank God for them.
That the air has been sucked out of liberal education is obvious. The events and movements that have brought...