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The Forum > Article Comments > The Getting of Wisdom > Comments

The Getting of Wisdom : Comments

By Steven Schwartz, published 13/7/2011

Questions of knowledge and experience need to be balanced in Australian universities.

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I like the Prof's comments. Always erudite and supported by interesting refs.

I worked both sides of the academic fence (teaching and marketing) and think that wisdom comes considerably after experience. There is some curious research coming out of the States (see Academically Adrift: Limited learning on College Campuses) which rips the rug out of many university claims that they are really educating students. It says that it is educating a hard working minority - they say about 15 percent. The rest just stumble through.

I don't believe that although it does mesh well with my experience in the classroom.

Back to the article: the great benefit of gaining a university education with some humanities input (especially history and Eng Lit) is that it makes one realise that others have walked down the same paths many years before. Their experience is much like ours - unique but comparable. I'm tempted to start quoting Robert Frost re the 'paths less travelled' but you know what I mean.
Posted by Cheryl, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 11:04:34 AM
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I'm the father of two graduates who have recently completed Arts degrees at Melbourne's two most prestigious universities. Both are of inmdependent mind but sadly both came to the same conclusion: to do well, one has to identify the lecturer's biases and pander to them in one's essays and exams.

The most distressing thing for me was the disregard, bordering on contemptuous neglect afforded by both universities to the traditions of Western civilisation. Students are able to choose any number of courses on gender politics but even in history, the Enlightenment is taught mainly from a neo-Marxist, gender-based perspective, thus denying students the opportunity to engage with the most intellectually rigorous, creative and progressive tradition of the last 300 or so years. It's very sad when your own children, having majored in history and politics know nothing of Locke, Hume, Mill, Rousseau, Descartes not to mention Hobbes, Adam Smith and Montaigne. There is much to reform in modern humanities teaching before we try to persuade students undertaking vocational programs to engage with them.
Posted by Senior Victorian, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 11:50:26 AM
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Senior Victorian:"Students are able to choose any number of courses on gender politics but even in history, the Enlightenment is taught mainly from a neo-Marxist, gender-based perspective"

That might have something to do with this:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/women-doing-ok-but-men-lagging-behind/story-e6frgcjx-1226093313435

"International education consultant Alan Olsen said about 603,000 domestic female students had obtained higher education qualifications between 2000 and 2009, almost 50 per cent more than the 404,000 completions by their male counterparts. His 10-year analysis, which tallied domestic completions against the corresponding population of 25 to 34-year-olds, revealed a 39.1 per cent attainment rate among women.

The rate for men was just 25.8 per cent."

I have been pointing this out for several years amd have been consistently poo-pooed by some who should know better.

Another quote:"Marcia Devlin, director of the Higher Education Research Group at Deakin University, said a concerted effort was needed to improve the participation and success of men.

"It is surprising that we have waited so long to name males as an equity group. School success has been skewed in favour of females for some time," Professor Devlin said.

She added that schools and universities could consider "creative, active and integrated approaches to education that rely less on sitting still and listening passively, and more on the active use of multiple intelligences".

"Challenging stereotypes and social norms within and across socio-cultural groups might also be helpful," she said."

There may be some hope, but not as long as the funding for gender-studies courses is regarded as being as important as that for serious study. That will continue to be the case as long as there is a Labor or Greens -dominated government, since both parties gain the majority of their support from women, especially young, "professional" women (although not so much in the hard professions).

I'm sad to say that at school I was determined to concentrate only on the sciences, anticipating a scientific career. It was a foolish mistake, just as the concentration on attempting to create Feminist ideologues is a foolish mistake. The difference is that the only one my decision affected was me.
Posted by Antiseptic, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 12:05:33 PM
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Yes an interesting essay. It is a theme which is now being hotly debated in higher education circles. Indeed there was a feature on Martha Nussbaum in todays Higher Education Review supplement of the Oz.

Many conservative Christians WRONGLY argue that in order to re-introduce Wisdom into the academy we need to return to our our Christian roots and the Bible

Even so please find a completely understanding of Wisdom via this reference,book and web-page.

http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/ScientificProof/whatiswisdom.html

Plus this reference which gives unique perspective on the limits of Western "knowledge", and the fundamental taboo against True Wisdom in the Western Tradition altogether.

http://www.beezone.com/up/westernprohibitionagainsthigherknow.html

This reference on the power and control seeking motive at the root of all Western "knowledge"

http://www.aboutadidam.org/readings/bridge_to_god/index.html

Plus this reference which describes how even the limited capacity to Realize True Wisdom was systematically eliminated from the Western cultural possibility during the past 500 years - beginning with the Renaissance.

http://www.adidaupclose.org/Art_and_Photography/rebirth_of_sacred_art.html
Posted by Ho Hum, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 12:58:01 PM
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An interesting article.

I understand philosophy is being taught in some engineering courses in some universities, because many of the graduate engineers will eventually become managers and team leaders.

A fantastic set of videos taken of philosophy lectures run by Michael Sandel is available from here.

http://academicearth.org/speakers/michael-sandel

Everything from the morality of murder to same sex marriage is discussed by Michael Sandel with Harvard students.

At the end, it can be seen that there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to many questions, just choices between two or more evils.

While Academic Earth lists hundreds of lectures from US academics, I havenít been able to find any lectures by Australian academics in so-called Australian universities available on the internet.

http://academicearth.org/subjects/

Not being able to find any lectures on the internet by academics in Australia makes me think the universities in Australia are trying to hide something.

Unfortunately, I think there is little reliability from so-called Australian universities, if those same universities are accepting of feminism.

How can anyone accept blatant bigotry, biased research, advocacy research, misinformation, and hiding of information, and then expect the public to believe anything said by academics outside of social science courses.

Also, how can anyone in a university talk about acquiring knowledge or acquiring wisdom when almost everything inside a university or school is imported. True knowledge about something is acquired during the discovery and development process, but the more schools and universities import, the less likely they will ever discover or develop anything.

Unfortuntely, there seems to be no decrease in the amount of importation by our education system (with everything from textbooks to IWB's to sporting equipment now being imported), so there is less and less liklihood that true knowledge will ever be discovered or developed in our education system.
Posted by vanna, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 2:37:52 PM
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Please also find this assessment of the Wisdom-less dismal reductionism that now mis-informs all of Western philosophy and culture.

http://www.adidam.org/teaching/17_companions/great_tradition
Posted by Ho Hum, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 5:59:56 PM
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