Thursday, April 11, 2019


Intellectual Discipline

Roger Scruton, "On British Philosophy," Untimely Tracts (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1987), pp. 109-111 (at 110):
The primary purpose of a university education in the Humanities is to teach the student to read a book. If you can read one book, you can read many. But if you learn to glance at thousands, you will probably never learn how to extract the meaning from a single one. The important thing is to acquire intellectual discipline, to learn how to distinguish genuine questions from spurious phantoms, valid argument from sophistry, words rightly used and to true effect from empty bombast and stultifying pedantry. I was taught for two years without being required to read a single work of philosophy published before this century, and only then did I turn my attention to the founders of my subject.

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