Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind part 1

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In summary, Allan Bloom argues that the crisis of the university is a crisis in philosophy, as students lack the knowledge and critical thinking skills to engage with political and moral issues. However, his book, "The Closing of the American Mind," received mixed reviews, with some critics calling it vengeful and reactionary, while others saw it as a work of fiction. Some also argue that the focus on dogmatic acceptance of divine scripture is more prevalent in cultural anthropology departments rather than philosophy departments.

Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind have you read it?

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  • #1
ensabah6
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Have you read it? If so, why? Do you agree with his thesis that the crisis of the University is really a crisis in philosophy?That is hardly studying philosophy.
Students now arrive at the university ignorant and cynical about our political heritage, lacking the wherewithal to be either inspired by it or seriously critical of it.
Allan Bloom

The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency - the belief that the here and now is all there is.
Allan Bloom

The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.
Allan Bloom

The most important function of the university in an age of reason is to protect reason from itself.
Allan Bloom

The real community of man is the community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers.
Allan Bloom

The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.
Allan Bloom
 
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  • #2
I haven't read it and can see no reason to whatsoever.

Wikipedia said:
In a passage from her review, Nussbaum wrote: "How good a philosopher, then, is Allan Bloom? The answer is, we cannot say, and we are given no reason to think him one at all."... David Rieff called Bloom "an academic version of Oliver North: vengeful, reactionary, antidemocratic." The book, he said, was one that "decent people would be ashamed of having written." The tone of these reviews led James Atlas in the New York Times Magazine to conclude "the responses to Bloom's book have been charged with a hostility that transcends the usual mean-spiritedness of reviewers."[3] One reviewer, the philosopher Robert Paul Wolff writing in the scholarly journal Academe, reviewed the book as a work of fiction: he claimed that Bloom's friend Saul Bellow, who had written the introduction, had written a "coruscatingly funny novel in the form of a pettish, bookish, grumpy, reactionary complaint against the last two decades", using as the narrator a "mid-fiftyish professor at the University of Chicago, to whom Bellow gives the evocative name 'Bloom.'...The linguist and popular-writer Noam Chomsky declared the book to be "mind-bogglingly stupid."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Bloom#Closing_of_the_American_Mind
 
  • #3
I haven't read that, but after reading that description, there are at least a couple things I'd have to disagree with. I actually got a degree in philosophy as an undergrad, and far from "dismissing" the great books, we read them over and over in multiple classes. We read and discussed Plato in at least five classes I can think of. Neither did we "dismiss any attempt to provide a rational basis for moral judgments." Rather, all we did in an ethics class was look for and analyze rational bases for moral judgments. Like all the rest of philosophy, we constantly analyzed historical arguments and made our own. Isn't that exactly what "rational" means?

Heck, if he's so uptight about relativism and post-modernism, look to cultural anthropology departments, not philosophy departments. I'd even argue that philosophy departments are the last bastions of religion in the American university outside of actual divinity schools. I hardly consider rational analysis of argument in favor of dogmatic acceptance of divine scripture to be a failing of academia. In spite of what he may believe, many students take a look at the best arguments going back and forth and come to the same conclusions he does. This just seems like whining about people considering and taking seriously the other arguments, like he'd prefer for us to just believe what he believes without thinking about it.

But how in the hell is that philosophy?
 

Related to Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind part 1

1. What is the main thesis of Allan Bloom's "Closing of the American Mind part 1"?

The main thesis of Allan Bloom's "Closing of the American Mind part 1" is that the American education system has failed to provide students with a solid foundation in the Great Books and classical philosophy, leading to a decline in critical thinking skills and a lack of intellectual curiosity.

2. How does Bloom argue that the American education system has failed?

Bloom argues that the American education system has failed by focusing on relativism and individualism, rather than exposing students to the timeless ideas and values found in classical literature and philosophy. He also criticizes the trend of specialization and the lack of emphasis on a well-rounded education.

3. What does Bloom mean by the "closing of the American mind"?

Bloom's title refers to the idea that the American education system has closed the minds of students to the possibility of exploring and understanding the world through the lens of classical thought and literature. This lack of exposure to diverse ideas and values limits the intellectual growth and development of individuals.

4. How does Bloom address the issue of political correctness in education?

Bloom argues that political correctness has had a detrimental effect on education, as it limits the exploration of controversial or challenging ideas and discourages critical thinking. He believes that students should be exposed to a variety of perspectives and allowed to come to their own conclusions rather than being shielded from certain ideas.

5. What solutions does Bloom propose to address the issues in the American education system?

Bloom proposes a return to a more traditional and rigorous education that emphasizes the study of the Great Books and classical philosophy. He also suggests that universities should prioritize the pursuit of knowledge and truth over the pursuit of career success and material wealth.

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