The will and the intellect are inseparable

by Martha L. Blandford

Because of my frequent readings of economic and politically-oriented magazines, I am used to a literary style that is frequently brash, sarcastic or pompous in tone. The Concourse has introduced me to an altogether new rhetoric. Shortly after I first received it four years ago, I commented on this to my husband. He remarked truly that learning to argue with sensitivity was a mark of humility and maturity. So, please know how grateful I am to the Concourse for providing inspirational examples of this!

Further, I hope Ben Brown will write in more frequently! His article on education was a valuable contribution to the discussion. His points are well expressed, but I’m not sure I agree with them all. Even after reading his Newman quotes, I have difficulty granting that there is such a clear-cut dichotomy between the intellect and the will. If it is true, as Ben Brown states, that “education has to do with the intellect, not with the will,” then it seems reasonable to conclude that cognition is something non-volitional or automatic, perhaps. But, as I understand it, thinking is not non-volitional, nor do the connections of logic occur in our brains automatically.

The pre-conceptual level of consciousness, where our senses are stimulated, may well be non-volitional. But it seems to me that the will enters the picture when man chooses to make abstractions. In this sense, the ability to reason is given to man by God—“infused,” if you will, but man must freely choose whether and how he will make use of this gift. I know the Holy Spirit figures prominently into the whole equation, prompting us to the Light, but man must accept the holy prompting.

I most definitely understand and agree with Ben Brown’s general point that there is a distinct difference between a moral person and an well-educated person. I guess my point is that in parsing volition from intellect you may tacitly teach students that knowledge should come upon them, instead of their coming upon it—which often requires personal struggle.

Martha (Cotton) Blandford, Class of ‘89

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Same topic: core curriculum

I,1 Shouldn’t we have a real core curriculum at Franciscan University?, John F. Crosby I,2 What is a ‘real’ Catholic education?, Kathleen van Schaijik I,2 Core curriculum (1), R.J. Convery I,2 Core curriculum (2), Jim Fox I,3 Core curriculum (3), Katherine Kemmis I,4 Core curriculum and anti-intellectualism, Adam Tate I,5 Core curriculum and critical thinking, Joseph A. Loizzo I,6 Core curriculum (4), Regis Martin I,7 Making ‘the connection’: A Steubenville education, Regina Schmiedicke I,7 A defense of a diversified core, Mark Fischer II,1 In reply to Mark Fischer’s defense of the present core curriculum, John F. Crosby II,2 More on the curriculum debate, Mark Fischer II,3 Last words on the core, John F. Crosby IV,4 What liberal educators may not omit, Regis Martin IV,5 Dr. Martin does it again, Joanna K. M. Bratten IV,5 FUS needs to get more practical about education, Peter Cole IV,5 Why non-liberal majors need a liberal core, Susan C. Fischer IV,6 The real purpose of liberal education, Ben Brown IV,7 Preparing students to compete in the global economy, Peter Cole IV,7 Education not limited to the mind, Susan C. Fischer IV,7 According to the Tradition, education aims beyond the intellect, Matthew Fish V,1 More on the aim of education: Ben Brown replies to his critics, Ben Brown V,2 Preparing FUS graduates for the modern world, Jason Negri V,3 Liberal arts and professional programs: a reply to Jason Negri, Ben Brown V,3 Let’s improve our stats, Sofia Genato V,3 The ideal of perfecting the mind is timeless, Michael Houser V,3 Cultivating the intellect, Anne Schmiesing V,5 The eternally practical liberal arts, Timothy J. Williams V,5 Computers and liberal learning, Ben Brown V,6 Liberal arts with professional training: the best of both worlds, Thomas E. Kelly V,7 Education is not primarily about preparing to evangelize in the workplace, Ben Brown V,7 The God gap in the workplaces of the world, Peter Cole V,8 Arrogant idealism, Jason Negri IV,7 Newman, education and context, Kathleen van Schaijik

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