Educationâ€™s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning ofÂ Life byÂ Anthony T. KronmanÂ (New Haven: Yale U. Press, 2007).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Anthony Kronman had me by the time I got to the subtitle. I wanted to know, â€œwhy, indeed, have our colleges and universities given up on the meaning of life?â€ It brought to mind a conversation with a religious studies faculty about the evidence from studies of spirituality in higher education of the longing of students to talk openly about these questions in their classes. The faculty person said something to this effect, â€œI could never do that. What we are about is the academic study of religion and not the personal beliefs of students.â€
Kronman begins the book describing a philosophy seminar on Existentialism taught by his undergraduate college department chair. The seminar met in the chairâ€™s home. The readings were demanding, the discussions about a life well lived were passionate. Birthed in those discussions was the conviction that higher education was a place â€œwhere the question of what living is for can be pursued in an organized wayâ€ (p. 6). His book is an impassioned argument for both why higher education has largely abandoned such discussions (except in late night bull sessions!) and what is to be done. [Read more…] about Book Review: Educationâ€™s End