Educated Person Essay

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Ramsay Mac Donald joined a group of "old students" of a workingmen's college at supper in London a few nights ago, and discussed with his sometime comrades the real meaning of education and the definition of the "educated man." Certainly, said this man who has sat in the seat of Gladstone, the educated man is not a "learned man." By this is meant that he is not necessarily educated because he is learned.

Nor is he an educated man simply because he is a university man, added this son of a farm laborer who was thrilled last July when the University of Glasgow gave him its degree, the greatest of prizes in the eyes of a Scotchman. Here is the educated man, according to the former Prime Minister: The educated man is a man with certain subtle spiritual qualities which make him calm in adversity, happy when alone, just in his dealings, rational and sane in the fullest meaning of that word in all the affairs of his life." Such a man may be as learned as Aristotle, or he may, as Mr. New York Times The comprehensive resource for navigating the job search, composing strong resumes and cover letters, performing at interviews, using Harvard’s Campus Interview Program, and profiles from alumni in different industries.

The fundamental principles that underlie gravity, electricity, magnetism, and light are the same.

Leading ideas in the biological sphere include those of species, evolution and adaptation; the language of the genes that underlie both evolution and development of organisms; parallel and hierarchical subsystems that interact with one another in an integrated manner; and the view of living organisms as self-monitoring, self-correcting, self-organizing and self-reproducing systems.

The requirement articulated above may give the misleading impression that the information that an educated person should have is what is important for practical matters.

Given that ideas about the expanding universe and the evolution of the species are not relevant for practical decisions in life, is it necessary for an educated person to be familiar with them?In contrast, we agree that the idea that matter consists of molecules and molecules consist of atoms is part of the general knowledge of any educated person in modern times.It is also important to bear in mind that what is regarded as knowledge keeps changing over time.The universe came to exist in a big bang several billions of years ago, and it has been expanding ever since. All matter is composed of molecules which are formed out of atoms.Atoms are composed of smaller particles some of which have positive and negative electric charges, whirling about in empty space.When philosopher Thomas Kuhn talked about the paradigms that guide scientific inquiry, one of the concepts he was pointing to was that of the leading ideas that shape world views.In contrast, information about the chemical composition of common salt, the function of biceps and triceps in the action of the human arm, and the role of the limbic system of the brain in human emotions are matters of detail which do not qualify as foundational knowledge.In its common usage, the word "knowledge" refers to propositional knowledge of the form "X knows that Y".Thus, we expect an educated person in the modern world to know that the square root of four is two, that the earth spins on its axis and goes round the sun, that the pumping of the heart circulates blood, that rice is high in carbohydrates and low in protein, and that the Greek notion of democracy did not include women and slaves.The answer, which to my mind is a clear yes, calls for a distinction between foundational knowledge and non-foundational knowledge.By foundational knowledge, I refer to the leading ideas and metaphors of any discipline that have had far reaching consequences not only in transforming the whole discipline but also have transcended disciplinary boundaries to affect a wide range of human knowledge.


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