Liberal Arts... hedgehog or fox?

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While reading the final chapter of "It Ain't Necessarily So" I came across an interesting analogy. The author's compared reader's tunnel vision and blind spots to hedgehogs and foxes.

"These terms were used by the a Greek poet who stated that, 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.' The 'one big thing' that hedgehogs emphasize may be important, but focusing on it can still blind them to many other things that are also important."

I couldn't agree more. If you look at the people you know, they all fall into either category. Either people have an open mind and are always skeptic, or they have their opinion and good luck trying to change their mind!

This analogy struck me in a different way however. It didn't only apply to newswriting and reading articles. It seemed to apply to post-secondary education, specifically, the Liberal Arts core. As freshman at SHU, we have heard for a whole semester about what a Liberal Arts school is and how it differs from a state school's education or other college or university's educations. To me, it seemed to fit the hedgehog/fox theory. The Liberal Arts core is the fox. It gives you a broad education and teaches you many more subjects outside of your major to create a well-rounded student. As the quote says, "The fox knows many things." On the other hand, a non-liberal arts education is like the hedgehog. "It knows one big thing." It mostly educates the student on his or her specific major. This, in turn, emphasizes the one big thing, however, focusing only on that can still blind him or her from many other things that are important as well.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on November 3, 2005 10:38 PM.

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