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The Idea of A University (Notre Dame Series in the Great Books) Paperback – 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0268011505 ISBN-10: 0268011508

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Product Details

  • Series: Notre Dame Series in the Great Books
  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press (1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268011508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268011505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
When John Henry Newman gave his series of lectures to a series of audiences at Dublin University, he was setting out his view as to what a Liberal education should be. Those who sought such an education should see themselves as gentlemen intellectuals who might seek a specific career only after they achieved their University degree. For those who wished a specific trade or vocation, there were plenty of schools for that--but Newman's University would not be one of them. In his The Idea of a University, he sets out his vision of both the student and the school that could churn out those who loved knowledge for its own sake. In short, such graduates would be multiple copies of himself.

Newman anticipates the objections of future generations of parents of students who wish to study the liberal arts. First, he suggests that the very nature of any university ought to foster the pursuit of any legitimate field of study, liberal arts or otherwise. Second, the notion of "liberal" is one that has achieved an unfortunate connotation of elite inutility. What is liberal about the mind and soul is that it inculcates a set of values that far transcends that which a trade might offer. Rather than focusing one's efforts on the mere acquisition of things material, which do nothing to make one a better person by their mere presence, liberal arts change the man within and make him the better for that. Third, the ardent study of liberal arts is a subset of the general pursuit of Knowledge, which is an end worthwhile in itself. Fourth, those who study liberal arts tend to think of their school as a place where they receive education rather than instruction.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Himself on May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This edition of Newman's classic is greatly enhanced by copious endnotes pertaining to the first half, the nine discourses--if you know that one pertains to what you are reading and can find it. The notes are located just before the index and coded as x.y, where x is the page number and y is the line number. For each note, I went to the corresponding page, counted the lines, and wrote the line number by the line. Then, when I was reading, I knew there was a pertinent endnote and could easily find it (especially with a bookmark amongst the notes).
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By Jeff Commissaris on May 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Newman's classic book has been reviewed a million times over, so I'm just going to post my reflections and thoughts after reading this book on some of the quotes that Newman presented. This book is a must read, should be required text for ANY college student and to not read it is to do a crime against yourself. That is only my humble opinion. There are things in this book that are often, if not always conveniently overlooked within our modern education system. Newman was a genius, way beyond the bell curve of intelligence, and ahead of his time.

"The professional school sets its' course by the correct practice of the profession is, in an important sense, a failure."

To me, this quote means that to study any subject, be it medical, dentistry, physics, philosophy, psychology, or anything else in a strictly factual form is a failure because it can never grow in this form and tends to stay stagnant. If the students are always to take what their professors teach them without questioning, then things either stay the same or they actually can downgrade.

"A liberal education needs to create a challenge to the ideas, habits, and attitudes that students bring with them."

On the other hand, when a student presents a idea, it must also be questioned, tested, challenged, and seen as not a means to an ends either.

"If the bubonic plague were to strike the university tonight and wipe out the entire faculty, would we, after burying our dead, proceed to replicate all the dozen or so professional schools that happen to be here now?"

This question is quint-essential, and ties in with Newman's philosophies in one rhetorical question.
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The Idea of A University (Notre Dame Series in the Great Books)
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