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Closing the American mind, 30 years later


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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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In anticipation of the “Snowflakes” discussion on Thursday, here is an insightful essay on the legacy of Allan Bloom’s 1987 The Closing of the American Mind. An excerpt:

For a democracy to thrive, talented youngsters had to be exposed to a philosophical education that allowed them to transcend the “bourgeois vulgarity” of their surroundings, and to devote themselves to something other than mere self-advancement. If American society could not ensure this, it risked descending into rule by elites who were no better than the uneducated mob, and for this reason perhaps far more dangerous (such was apparently his assessment of the graduates of MBA programs). As a result, Bloom believed that a “crisis of liberal education” would amount to nothing less than “the crisis of our civilization.”


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