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Hutchins Book Overview

The Higher Learning in America, by Robert Maynard Hutchins


Consists of two parts:
Critical discussion of the plight of education in this country, with especial reference to colleges and universities A plan for the thorough remaking of education
Analysis of the meaning of general or liberal education Application of the conclusions reached to reconstruction of education in existing colleges and universities

Deweys Analysis
Three major causes for educational disorder
1. Colleges & Universities are driven by the love of money
Ex. Donors, student fees, state legislatures Results in the demand of large numbers of students, which then results in the need for more teachers (most of which are probably under- qualified)

Deweys Analysis Cont.


2. Hutchins says that there is a false interpretation of democracy. - Ex. Just because the public believes everyone deserves an equal chance of obtaining a higher education does not mean everyone is worthy of receiving a higher education - Hutchins believes that only after ones sophomore year of college could they merit an opportunity to receive higher education

Deweys Analysis Cont.


3. The erroneous notion of progress
Hutchins believes that progress is taken place mainly in material things, techniques, information, and data Learning by empiricism (belief in physical proof) is being pushed aside

The Remedy
Education for its own sake, pursuit of knowledge. Not for the sake of a degree for a working gain. Dewey agrees with Hutchins on how higher institutions should become centers of creative thought. Dewey believes in unity of intellect and practice only from truths and higher truths.

Basically breaks up the Dewey and the Hutchins points of view. While Dewey is the Pragmatist or the practice. Hutchins is the Idealist, or the intellect. Hutchins holds that a divorce is needed between this practice and the intellect. Dewey believes in the intellect but it is just another truth that is relying on another truth. Ills-comes from surrender of educational institutions to the social pressure. Which leads to the love of money instead of the love of truths. Social pressure Surrender causes the mass to conform and produce people for the work force. Lack of love for truth, more for love of money Donations would halt if the love for truth won this debate.

Authority and Truth


-Hutchins continuously appeals to Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas and holds a contempt for the sciences at the same time. -However, the rise of the sciences has already created a revolution in logic. -It is illogical to assume that what these ideas did for the Greeks to solve their problems would to the same for our society. His reform to exclude any curriculum that deals with modernity is not the way to achieve.

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