The Freedom to Be: The Humanities in a Digital Age

By Leland Tyson Anderson.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 9, 2015 $US5.00

In 1929 James Truslow Adams in his “To ‘Be’ or To ‘Do’: A Note on American Education” made a stinging critique of the state of American education at that time: It was driven, he said, a by a desire for a utilitarian “doing” in business and the label of a BA rather than for the purpose of “being” in life. In the current American context with the emergence of a menacing future, constrained economic conditions, and the arrival of virtual education—including especially for-profit virtual education—this problem has only gotten worse. Resources for addressing this issue may be found both in American thinkers like Thoreau and Dewey and in thinkers with an existentialist approach such as Heidegger and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht. The phrase “the freedom to be” seeks to capture both the democratic ideal of liberty and the idea of “being present.” It is in fact in the humanities where such freedom can be both found and nourished.

Keywords: Education, Freedom, Presence

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.33-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 9, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 359.260KB)).

Dr. Leland Tyson Anderson

Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, Theology, and Religion, Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida, USA