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Brand Blanshard, Lecture on “The Present Situation in Philosophy,” delivered at various locations 1961-1967.
Brand Blanshard Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Karen Huang ’11, Brand Blanshard’s Aristocracy

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In response to a perceived decline in the teaching of philosophy in colleges across the nation, Blanshard offers a defense of the discipline by appealing to its universal practical value. He contends that philosophy should hold the principal role in a liberal arts education. The study of philosophy cultivates skills of critical reflection and clear thinking—skills that prove to be extremely applicable not only in academic disciplines but also “in politics, in religion, or in the law.” Blanshard deems the philosophical habit of mind necessary for making morally correct, rationally sound political decisions. By placing philosophy at the center of a college education, Blanshard prescribes a particular role for the university as an institution. The university, as the training ground for rational individuals, supplies philosophically minded leaders for society.