Originally Posted by eric11210
Of course the irony is that in my current line of work, even though I have around 10 years of higher education behind me (six years of rabbinical school and four years of college), I don't use either degree. However, I do admit that I learned quite a bit from both schools and that it helps me as a writer. Though I imagine I could have simply read books and gotten the same thing without the need for expensive college courses.
Doesn't Rabbinical school give you practical experience in debate that you wouldn't get from just reading a book? I'd think that developing legal reasoning in depth and then having to defend that reasoning on the fly would be an especially valuable learning experience. I know that in traditional Islamic education you have to go through a similar process once you grasp the fundamentals (i.e. Grammar, Vocabulary, Basic Religious Law, etc.). Students are regularly assigned propositions to attack and defend and taught the application of formal logical and rhetorical principles. My understanding that a traditional Yeshiva education operates using similar methods. At any rate, I think a liberal arts education is invaluable in learning how to think and in forcing one to tackle the Big Issues and Great Questions. I don't regret the years I spent studying philosophy (although I wish I had also tried to do a double major or at least a minor in Middle Eastern studies while I was at it). As it is, it is difficult enough to avoid being infected by the rampant materialism and consumerism that has got its grips in the American soul. A liberal arts education gives you a fighting chance to free yourself from that grip. I don't see how an educational experience which is from start to finish entirely focused on obtaining a marketable skill or set of skills without consideration (and often with no time available) for the meaning of what one is doing will allow one to develop in the type of person qualified to exercise the power that a free and democratic society confers upon the individual. This is not to say that there are not thoughtful engineers and doctors, but this is something they come to 'on the side.' Frankly, I think if there were more engineers who deeply studied and pondered over ethics, there would be a dearth of those individuals willing to devote themselves to the art of developing better ways to kill humans. If there was a concerted movement among scientists to study social theory, perhaps we would not be awash in technological and pharmaceutical products which serve very little purpose other than to enrich patent holders while actually contributing to the degradation of the quality of life and of the fabric of our society.