Friday, September 14, 2007


It's the birthday of philosopher and educator Allan Bloom, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (1930). He's best known as the author of The Closing of the American Mind (1987), about what he believed was the decline of higher education in the United States.

He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago and at Cornell, and he witnessed the student protests in the 1960s that forced universities to stop teaching their required Western civilization classes. He argued that by giving up on the Western canon of literature, Americans had given up on wisdom.

He wrote, "We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. [We] play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part."

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