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More on Education...

April 24th, 2005 | 1 min read

By Andrew Selby

For me, education is the most tantalizing subject, so I have to jump in. If you haven't read Matt's last post entitled, "King for a Day", please read it before this one.

Matt, I agree with you that education really ought to point students towards truth. However, it is unclear to me how such a thing ought to be performed. Truth, ultimately, is something that is "seen" - some data is brought to the students mind to be considered and then is judged as true or false. The mental "seeing" of true data appears analogous to literal seeing with our eyes. We can't rightly say that parents teach their children to see in this way. Similarly, I don't know how we could teach a student to "see" with their minds - there is something inherently natural about it.

Perhaps herein lies the answer to the cunundrum: education doesn't - properly speaking - make the student to see. Rather, a good education would enhance and develop a student's natural ability to see. It would affirm his or her common sense.

A further suggestion on how to accomplish this goal is to look to the ancients. The key was a story or set of stories that accurately represented the way the world is. The Greeks used Homer and the Romans used Virgil. Their young ones engaged in what came to be called the Paideia.* Augustine a came along and suggested that Christians read the Bible as their epic poem because it most accurately represented reality. Now we use all sorts of different stories.

Personally, I must say that the single best influence on my education would have to be my mother reading Bible stories to me every morning before school and having it read to me in church. Other suggestions on ways to help students perceive truth would be much appreciated, but like a good Evangelical, I'm going to go with the Bible! :)

*(Buy a great book on that subject by Werner Jaeger here - I don't think it's public domain yet.)