The Burden of the Humanities
What use are the humanities? Even some scholars no longer seem sure. But at a time when bioengineering throws into question what it means to be human, the answer should be obvious.
Lamentations about the sad state of the humanities in modern America have a familiar, indeed almost ritualistic, quality about them. The humanities are among those unquestionably nice endeavors, like animal shelters and tree-planting projects, about which nice people invariably say nice things. But there gets to be something vaguely annoying about all this cloying uplift. One longs for the moral clarity of a swift kick in the rear.
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Wilfred M. McClay, a former Wilson Center fellow, is SunTrust Chair of Humanities at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.more from this author >>