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The Sole Purpose of Education

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On November 12, 2010 @ 2:00 pm In Philosophy,Psychology | Comments Disabled

In 1914, John Alexander Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, addressed the first session of his two-year lecture course as follows:

“Gentlemen, you are now about to embark on a course of studies that (will) form a noble adventure…Let me make this clear to you. ..nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life – save only this – that if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole purpose of education.”

That quote reminds me of the famous Joan Robinson [1] line: “The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”


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[1] Joan Robinson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Robinson

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