Pick your poison: “narrow and short-sighted”, or “superficial” and solipsistic?

Henri Irénée Marrou, Histoire du l’Education dans l’Antiquité (A History of Education in Antiquity)—unfortunately, I only have the English at present, so I present George Lamb’s translation:

This was a bold solution of a difficult problem, for there is a fundamental antinomy between scientific research and education. If a young mind is made a slave to science and treated merely as an instrument in furthering scientific progress, its education suffers, becomes narrow and short-sighted. But if on the other hand too much emphasis is laid on the open mind, on a purely humanistic culture, there is a danger of superficiality and unreality. This problem has still not been settled: it was certainly not settled in the fifth century B.C. when against the solution offered by the Sophists there arose the stubborn opposition of Socrates.


It is not enough to see where education fails by the litmus test of happiness versus mere success. We always have to ask the question, of which the answer is so elusive, what is it for? What is happiness?

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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