How do books change our lives? In this episode, host Russ Roberts welcomes Columbia University professor Roosevelt Montas to answer that question and talk about his new book, Rescuing Socrates. Montas has directed Columbia’s Core Curriculum program for many years and is a fierce advocate of the liberal arts—which she values. all Students, whether in formal or informal settings. She shares her inspiring personal story, and offers us all a great deal to think about and read!
What makes Columbia’s core curriculum so unique? how widely it applies; Is this just an Ivy League thing, or is there something we can all benefit from? If so, where and how can we do it?
Montas places great emphasis on the discursive nature of the liberal arts. So let’s keep learning And The conversation is ongoing. As always, we love to hear from you.
1- Why does the liberal arts seem so favorable today? Is it simply a question of “bad marketing,” as Roberts suggests? Are the liberal arts and modern research university models incompatible? (You might think here about the role of the non-specialist professor leading the liberal arts course at Columbia. How much value is there in learning with someone who has no special expertise in the field?)
2- Roberts suggests that we look at where the word “liberal” comes from in the liberal arts, as the idea of freedom is part of its origins. What does Roberts mean when he says that this kind of learning is something that everyone has to figure out for themselves? what is The role of freedom in a liberal arts education?
3- Montas tells a story about four thinkers who deeply influenced him: Freud, Gandhi, Plato and Augustine. what yours Experience with these thinkers? who will you Choose to answer questions from the most influential thinkers yours Life, and why?
4- Unsurprisingly, the question of dead white men and the Western canon arises. What does Montas mean when he suggests that we run the risk of meeting diversity in chronological order? How did you react to his assertion that, “…one of the great values that we find in those ancient texts—in those minds and writers from a different world, a different time, a different class, from our own culture? A different culture. – We see what is fundamentally human.”
5- Why liberally educated people are good for democracy? Montas said, “…I wouldn’t blame the crisis in our political discourse, the kind of controversial crisis America finds itself in today—I wouldn’t blame higher education. But I would say higher education has failed to create of It contributes to prevention.” What does it mean? what must be The role of higher education in shaping our political discourse?