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Brian Lande UH-201-03 Paper #3

Education and Awareness,
and the Importance of Distinction and Definition In Critical Thought

Socialization-The process whereby one acquires a sense of personal identity and learns what people in the surrounding culture believe and value and how they expect one to behave. (Gelles and Levine 1991, pg. 619)

Is it fair to claim that education turns the individual off to greater awareness, that it actually

constrains our ability to gain knowledge, as Aldo Leopold hints to in A Sand County Almanac? I

am afraid that I can't agree that "education is possibly a process of trading awareness for things of

lesser worth" (Leopold 1949, pg. 18). But before making a criticism of Leopold's thought, we

must first make distinctions. Does Leopold, in fact, believe that education dull's the senses and our

thought and what exactly does he mean by "trading awareness for things of lesser worth," i.e.

what is the subject of lesser worth and what does he mean by education? We must make another

distinction before moving on, that being the distinction between science and philosophy (critical

thought), and art or poetry.

In science and philosophy, when one makes a didactic statement (which is usually

required), it is mandatory that that statement be defended and distinctions be made--critical thinking

is required. Thus, if I say something I must define what I mean by that statement. For example, if

"education is possibly a process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth" (Leopold 1949,

pg. 18), I must define what I mean by awareness, education, and things of lesser worth, otherwise

how can we be sure that we are conversing on the same topic and that what is defined is the correct

and accepted definition. An argument must be logical and, so far as is allowable by contingency,

be defendable and able to stand on its own feet, for example, the commonly held definition of

education is the process by which we gain knowledge and awareness, it then does not follow that

we will lose awareness by education. If this is not the definition that Leopold goes by, he should

have made clear what he meant (e.g. schooling). The argument is either invalid (as it is illogical) or

an improper distinction has been made. Didactic statements in science and philosophy must be

solid. A didactic statement belongs to science and philosophy,notdropped carelessly in art and


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