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Philosopher’s Café

October 14, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

When literary criticism emerged as a scholarly discipline of its own, Matthew Arnold famously described it as “a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.” The ambition for scholarly disinterest (an unbiased, uninvested, even-handed assessment) has been an ideal for public education and a counterpoint to approaches that mask indoctrination and propaganda behind the guise of education. But can any of us, whether teachers, students, or citizens, ever be truly disinterested? Might it actually be more dangerous to hide our biases? Moreover, even if we could, would it even be desirable to approach ideas in the world as if we did not have a dog in the fight? Or on the other hand, might a disinterested approach run the risk of reducing the human to a merely rational being, negating the physical, emotional, and (potentially) spiritual dimensions of the human person? After accepting a job at a Catholic liberal arts college with a mission for “educating minds and hearts,” Emily Ransom returns to the Café to explore what may be gained or lost in a holistic approach to education and cultural engagement. 

Philo Cafe Oct 2020