“To get Them to see Those Interests Through Academic Eyes”

There is something of a luxury in [doing] metaphysics. You must have some time on your hands [to do metaphysics].

— [Redacted], in class, 4/25

“Why do I have to learn this?” “When will I ever use it in the future?” Many students moan and wail identical or similar remarks when met with a class or topic they don’t care for. Even I myself have made such remarks. When we ask such questions, we inadvertently suppose that learning ought to be conducive to pleasure or pertinent to one’s future. Are we justified in making these suppositions though? When students make such comments, they suppose that learning ought to result in pleasure or be practical. Such a supposition is nothing more than the fallacy of the modern American student. To my indictment, students will object that my accusation is mistaken because educational institutions are nothing other than institutions whose role and purpose is to equip students with the skills they need to be able to adequately compete within the economy, or that enjoyment really should be the ultimate end of learning. However, the teleology of learning has neither economic nor hedonistic ends; on the contrary, learning’s ultimate object is, or, at least, ought to be education which has as its essence knowledge. This is not to say that learning has as its telos the accumulation of just any information. For, while all knowledge is information, not all information is knowledge — think squares and rectangles. The difference? Knowledge has epistemic merit to it. Therefore, it is my conviction that the quality of learning genuinely depends on the topics and texts studied to a real extent. To clarify, the question of “To what extent?” does not necessitate that the extent is quantified instead of qualified. In other words, it is not necessarily a question of “How much?” Hence, I qualify rather than quantify the extent to which the quality of learning depends on the topics and texts studied. Furthermore, I hold my now stated thesis to be the case because first, it is not the case that every framework can arrive at every piece of knowledge by itself, therefore indicating that there is a real difference between frameworks of learning and thinking, and second, it is, therefore, not the case that any text or topic could give the subject every piece of knowledge that exists, and third, some of this specific information not only has more epistemic merit than other information garnered by way of other frameworks, texts, and topics but also gives the subject who is accumulating such information a specific and special relationship with the world. The value of this all is that such a relationship with the world determines the effective quality of learning.[1] These three points contain all the real differences that could possibly be described. They contain all the real differences because the first point describes the essential difference between frameworks, i.e., it describes the essence of each framework that differentiates them all from different frameworks; the second point describes the causal difference between each text and topic, i.e., it describes how the essence of a text or topic viewed through a certain framework allows it to cause different information to be gained the subject; and the third point describes the effective difference between frameworks, topics, and texts, i.e., it describes how the specific knowledge each framework, text, and topic offers to the subject who holds them leads the subject to obtain different effects. The essential, causal, and effective differences between different frameworks, texts, and topics demonstrate the dependence of the quality of learning on the framework of learning chosen by a subject has a real and genuine existence, therefore confirming my thesis, in that, the dependence will have been proven to exist to a real extent as claimed.

Notes

[1]: I use the term subject as opposed to the object. To further clarify if my usage is not understood. I am not using subject at any point in this essay in a way analogous to the term topic, I am using it to mean an entity who has something as its object — subjects are usually conscious entities.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Evan Jack

Evan Jack

How sweet terror is, not a single line, or a ray of morning sunlight fails to contain the sweetness of anguish. - Georges Bataille