논문 : 현대 미국 고등교육의 쟁점 - 앨런 블룸의 『 미국 정신의 폐쇄 』 와 그 비판을 중심으로 -

저작시기 2002.01 |등록일 2003.07.10 파일확장자어도비 PDF (pdf) | 23페이지 | 가격 5,800원
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저자명 : 정경희(Kyung Hee Chung)

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The Issues of Contemporary American Higher Education: Allan Bloom`s The Closing of the American Mind and Its Critique "What should the higher education be and do?" This is a never-ending question. Since the late 1980s, very serious and extensive debate over the state of the American higher education has been going on in America. This debate was brought about by publication of Allan Bloom`s book, The Closing of the American Mind in 1987. In this book, Bloom attacks the contemporary American universities and blames the educators very severely for a decline in American intelligence. According to him, social and political crisis in 20th century America is in fact an intellectual crisis. The decline of American intelligence is derived from the degradation of the American higher education. American universities do not any more provide the students with knowledge of the great tradition of philosophy and literature which enabled them to perceive the natural order and men`s place in it. The major factor which caused this failure in higher education is the cultural relativism. In other words, this failure is derived from the current idea that all societies and all cultures are equal. In addition, Bloom argues that equality is the democratic prejudice and it proves to be an obstacle to pursue the higher and the more valuable. To solve the problems of education in American universities, he maintains, students should master the basics of western civilization. For that purpose, the Great Books approach is needed. Lawrence Levine refutes the viewpoints expressed in Bloom`s book in his book, The Opening of the American Mind(1996). In this book, a history of the American higher education, he aims to place this debate in a historical context. According to him, the principal problem with the conservative critics in the higher education such as Bloom is that it is not historical at all. Levine shows that Bloom`s nostalgia for the university`s golden age is mostly based on a flawed understanding of its past. Levine makes his point by demonstrating that "the canons" defended by the conservative critics came into being not long time ago. He stresses that the changes that have occurred in the American education in recent years are part of a long historical process. To Levine, therefore, the opening the academic canon to cultures beyond western civilization is a natural outgrowth of the diversity of America. he believes that the opening of the American education and of a changing society are inextricably linked. From his viewpoint, the universities are changing to keep in touch with the real would, and are doing a more through and cosmopolitan job than ever before. If we accept Levine`s explanation, then how can we explain the commercial success of Bloom`s book? Fifteen years after its publication, Bloom`s book still appeals to us surprisingly. It is because what it says applies to what we see these day on university campus, not only in America but also in Korea.

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