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What is an Educated Person – CHASS Reading Group application

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Old Main, USU


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Ever wonder what you should be doing here at college?  What is college for?  Are you here for job training or to be educated?  What is the difference?  What does it mean to be educated, anyway?

If you are interesting in exploring these questions, you are invited to apply to a new College of Humanities and Social Sciences reading group called “What is an Educated Person? – a CHASS Reading Group” which will meet every Tuesday (spring term 2013) from 3:00 to 4:30 in RWST 311.

Expectations: Each week students will read selections from classic and contemporary seminal works on education and the meaning of life, post a brief reading reflection on a blog, and participate in the weekly discussion.  Discussions will be moderated by Dr. Harrison Kleiner and Dr. Susan Shapiro.  While the reading group does not count for USU credit, students may get Honors credit through an Honors Contract.

Thanks to the generous support of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the USU Honors Program, students will receive their program books for free.

Spring 2013 readings:
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (selections)
Plato, The Republic (selections)
John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (selections)
Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (selections)
Martha Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity (selections)

Students of sufficient intellectual maturity who are eager to read, think, and discuss the purposes and meaning of higher education can apply.  We welcome applications from freshman to seniors and from every discipline and college.  Application information can be found at or email

Application process:

Submit applications to  Include as attachments to the email:
– A resume.  Your resume must include the following items: your contact information (phone, email, address); academic year; major; GPA; academic achievements; extra-curricular activities; the name and email address of a USU faculty member who can be contacted for a reference.
– Submit a list of at least 3 books that have helped to shape your self-understanding.

Finalists will be interviewed by a team composed of Drs. Kleiner and Shapiro.

Priority deadline for applications: Wednesday December 5, 5pm.



  1. Jordan D. says:

    Damn! This sounds awesome. Wish I would have known about it. Do you think you will be doing any other reading groups like these in the future?


  2. Kleiner says:

    Assuming that the funding remains, the plan is to run this group every semester. It is possible that other changes might be in store, but I would expect something like this to be offered next fall.


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