Anthony O’Hear & Marc Sidwell (eds), The School of Freedom

Anthony O’Hear & Marc Sidwell (eds), The School of Freedom. A Liberal Education Reader from Plato to the Present Day (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2009). ISBN: 978-1-845-40134-4. 300 pp.

Liberal education is not a theory. It is the tradition by which Western civilisation has preserved and enriched its inheritance for two and a half thousand years. Yet liberal education is a term that has fallen from use in Britain, its traditional meaning now freely confused with its opposite. This book is intended to correct that misapprehension, through the presentation of original source material from the high points in the liberal education tradition with particular focus on the British experience. Among the many writers included are Plato, Cicero, St Augustine, Alfred the Great, Thomas More, David Hume, John Ruskin and Sir Winston Churchill.

  • Section 1: Origins
    • I. Greece
    • II. Rome
    • III. Christianity
  • Section 2: The British Tradition (c.750 to 1950)
    • IV. Against the Darkness
    • V. Twelfth-century Revival
    • VI. New Learning: the Renaissance Humanists
    • VII. Persistence through Enlightenment, Romanticism and Industrialisation
    • VIII. Restating the Ideal: Diligence and Devotion
    • IX. A Challenge from Science
    • X. The Twentieth Century: Liberal Education for All
    • XI. Worth Fighting For: Restatement in and after World War II
  • Section 3: After Tradition (1950 onward)
    • XII. Losing Battles
    • XIII. Returning to First Principles
  • Section 4: Liberal Education Redux
    • XIV. Revival in America

Professor Anthony O’Hear is Weston Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Education at Buckingham. He is also Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and editor of the journal Philosophy. His many books include The Great Books (Cambridge, 2007) and The Landscape of Humanity (Exeter, 2008).

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