Callicles’ challenge to philosophy

In early November, Birkbeck College of the University of London hosted a conference called “Why Humanities?”, in response to the government’s onslaught against higher education taking place in the UK (and taking place here, with slightly less severity). One of the speakers was philosopher Raimond Gaita, in a short address entitled “Callicles’ Challenge.” At the heart of his talk is whether Philosophy should try to promote its worth by listing the extrinsic benefits of studying and teaching it. It’s an interesting and intelligent talk; here’s the link.

ADDENDUM: Towards the end, Gaita offers this quote from Hannah Arendt:

“Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.

“And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.”

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