Our society so values education that sociologists have recognized the problem of "over-education" (Hadjicostandi). Many people are spending years pursuing degrees which they simply do not need for the jobs they perform. It is therefore prudent for students to question whether pursuing a liberal education is really as important as our society believes. What is the point of a college education? Does it have any purpose beyond its material benefits. Are these benefits worth their cost? These are important questions that need answering. In the end, we may see that there is far more to this debate than simple accounting. Perhaps what makes education worth pursuing is that it gives us the freedom to makes these kinds of decisions about what is best for us.
In many ways, this debate over education has its roots in the writings of Plato (Jowett). In Book VII of The Republic, Plato discusses such topics as enlightenment, epistemology, forms, and the duties of philosophers. The rhetorical styles which he employ are those of the dialogue and the allegory. The dialogue takes the form of a discussion between Socrates and Glaucon, while the allegory serves as a concrete illustration of the abstract ideas which Plato talks about (Jacobus, 444). Let us examine this "Allegory of the Cave" in more detail.
In it, Plato asks the reader to imagine human beings living in an underground den. [where] they have been from childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and [there is] a low wall. [with] men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues a...
... middle of paper ...
...nough to catch a glimpse of the light shinning at the mouth of the cave. When he has once seen the light, he will immediately embark upon a lifelong journey to reach it.
Hadjicostandi, Joanna. Module 13: Education and Medicine. Introduction to Sociology. 1 May, 2006. .
Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas. 7th Edition Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2006.
Plato. The Apology of Socrates. The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved 2 May, 2006. .
Plato. The Republic. Trans. Jowett, Benjamin. Cleveland, Ohio: 1946.
Plato. 2006. Wikimedia. Retrieved 1 May, 2006. .
Plato's Allegory of the Cave. 2006 Reference.com. Retrieved 1 May, 2006. .
The Matrix. Dir. The Wachowski Brothers. Perf. Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne. 20th Century Fox, 1991.
Thoreau, Henry D. A World of Ideas. 7th Edition. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2006.
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