Monday, June 20, 2005

OPINION VACCINATION

In response to a request for reading suggestions for a teen from Amy Welborn, Disputations describes a book he'd like to see:
give me an idea for a book I think would be very helpful for teenagers: The Not-So-Great Ideas, a compendium of bum philosophies that captivate nineteen-year-olds when they first encounter them. Objectivism, solipsism, Marxism, materialism, nihilism: the dead-end sinks of human thought and sources of human misery. Collect them in a single book for high school students that, if nothing else, will teach them their parents aren't the only grown-ups who have lousy ideas.

The trouble with encountering loony ideas for the first time in college is that the person who introduces you to the concept is generally a true believer. As such, they seldom give a balanced presentation, but use their influence to bring you on board, as well.

As with a Comparative Religions class, or an Intro Philosophy class (one that is run on old-fashioned principles), students should be given a broad introduction to the concepts of that philosophy, selected readings, and some critique of its flaws. Think of it as similar to a medical vaccination - a way of innoculating our youth against something potentially harmful to their development.

1 comment:

Francis W. Porretto said...

I'd disagree that Objectivism belongs on that list. Within its domain of applicability, it's sound. Its promoters have simply tried to make it into a panacea, which it most certainly is not.