Quotations about   liberal arts

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This ideal University of Life … would never take the importance of culture for granted. It would know that culture is kept alive by a constant respectful questioning — not by an excessive and snobbish attitude of respect. Therefore, rather than leaving it hanging why one was reading Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, an ideal course covering nineteenth-century literature would ask plainly “What is it that adultery ruins in a marriage?” Students in the ideal University of Life would end up knowing much the same material as their colleagues in other institutions, they would simply have learned it under a very different set of headings.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
“Reclaiming the Intellectual Life for Posterity,” Liberal Education (Spring 2009)
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Added on 18-Aug-17 | Last updated 18-Aug-17
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Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Studies,” Essays (1625)
Added on 29-Sep-16 | Last updated 29-Sep-16
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There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
(Misattributed)

Actually American writer and historian James Truslow Adams (1878-1949).Variants:
  • "There are two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live."
  • "There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Now I understand one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you’ve believed in all your life aren’t true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.

Daniel F. Keyes (1927-2014) American author
Flowers for Algernon (novel) (1966)
Added on 2-Nov-15 | Last updated 2-Nov-15
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It is better to be a beggar than ignorant; for a beggar only wants money, but an ignorant person wants humanity.

Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist
(Attributed)
Added on 12-Jun-15 | Last updated 12-Jun-15
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Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge — broad, deep knowledge — is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man’s progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
The Story of My Life, pt. 1, ch. 20 (1903)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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Perhaps the most fundamental value of a liberal education is that it makes life more interesting. It allows you to think things which do not occur to the less learned … it makes it less likely that you will be bored with life.

Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
(Attributed)
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Added on 26-Jan-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-15
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We seem to have forgotten that the expression “a liberal education” originally meant among the Romans one worthy of free men; while the learning of trades and professions by which to get your livelihood merely, was considered worthy of slaves only.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
“The Last Days of John Brown” (1860)
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Also known as "A Plea for Captain John Brown".
Added on 15-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Jul-14
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Art is a jealous mistress, and, if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Wealth,” The Conduct of Life (1860)
Added on 21-Apr-14 | Last updated 25-Nov-15
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If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, Harvard University (14 Jun 1956)
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Added on 9-Jan-12 | Last updated 2-Jan-14
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