On the Facts of Reality: Why Classical Education is the Education of Judgment

by

Laura Berquist

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Classical education provides both information and formation. The latter is primarily about developing habits of thought that make it possible to use information rightly. An

intellectually well-formed man is able to think about any subject he chooses, for he can acquire the information necessary when he desires it, and his habit of thought will make it possible for him to follow an argument, as well as make reasonable deductions and right judgments about it. In a certain way, that is what the education is for: right judgment.

Further, or additionally, classical education is properly calledliberal education, because it is an education that frees. “Liberal” comes from the Latin “liberare” “to free”. It is an education that is specifically human and it is such that the man who has it becomes free in acquiring it. Why? Because, in having it, hehas acquired an understanding of the universal principles and causes of things, and a knowledge of the end of human life and the right order of human action with respect to that end.  Thus, he has become a free man, for he has a knowledge of what is most worth knowing, and is able to direct his own life and the life of the community. He sees the ends to which life must be directed, and is thus able to make the right judgments to order his actions, and to advise others to order their actions, to those ends.