Topic: The closing of the American mind Allan Bloom 25 anniversary edition
Paper type: Critical and Creative Writing
Number of soruces: 5
Language: English (U.S.)
(Remember to consult the course reading list as you do not have to read the entirety of Bloom's book for this assignment.) In an essay of no less than 2000 words (yes, length matters), do the following: Draw some of the connections between the readings for the course. Consider that we are in a class that has as its subject, as its discipline, a kind of blend between philosophy and language arts. On one level of abstraction, critical thinking can be explained through linguistic terms like questioning, arguing, and reasoning.
But then we also read that narrative is the stuff of it. And Bloom tells us that in a world of relativism, it is hard to believe one's level of critical thinking is actually all that critical. One can decide between McDonald's and Jack in the Box--one can make a critical assessment weighing values and comparing numbers, but the relative choice between the two is not all that significant. Bloom is all about the great books arguing for a kind of grand narrative. He is very much telling us that to know what is really important is to know what has been considered to be important for longer than fifteen minutes...or even a decade. By drawing connections, you are to give your opinion on the meaning of thinking and what role stories play, as well as discuss the current state of education and thinking in America. Of course, some research is good idea, and is considered to be a requirement. You should find evidence for how things are or any other evidence that backs up your claims. You can agree or disagree with the ideas covered in the class; just don't use "I" unless you really have to. Instead write, "There are reasons to doubt some of Bloom's claims and these include..." There is room for an original thesis by you. You can and should try to develop some throughline to your essay. Your essay must adhere to the MLA format, which refers to how you cite. Yes, that means you must incorporate outside sources. You may research articles on critical thinking or the role of classics in education, or issues related to culture, or politics...
One might question what Allan Bloom means when he contends that the American mind is closing. His perspective is based on the idea that in the late 20th century, students in the institutions of higher learning barely grapple with complex ideas. The university students face an intellectual crisis because they have not been trained on how to question multifaceted concepts that conform to what their culture cherishes and inculcates. Therefore, the concepts of equality and openness have become virtually meaningless because students are unwilling to examine the existing differences between Blacks and Whites in both political and social contexts (Bloom 38). The students are unable to attain their equality dreams, which often seem impossible because they have adopted the loosened fabric of American life. The basic tenet of the argument is that students are friendlier rather than being great-souled; and this implies that they are more ...