In his 2006 essay, “How to Get a College Education,” Jeffrey Hart, emeritus professor of English at Dartmouth, talks of a philosophy professor he studied under who had two phrases he would constantly repeat:

  • “History must be told”; and
  • “The goal of education is to produce the citizen”

He meant that the citizen should know the great themes of his civilization, its important areas of thought, its philosophical and religious controversies, the outline of its history and its major works. The citizen need not know quantum physics, but he should know that it is there and what it means. Once the citizen knows the shape, the narrative, of his civilization, he is able to locate new things — and other civilizations — in relation to it.

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