The Liberal Arts Debate

Weekly Debates

The Philodemic Society gathered in the ICC Auditorium for an educating and enlightening exposition upon the resolution “Resolved: The Liberal Arts should be at the center of a Georgetown Education.” Making his induction, Mr. Andrew Zipperer (COL ’13) of Tennessee explained the efficacy of a liberal arts education to expand the mind and cultivate the traits of free people in its students. In rebuttal, negation keynoter Mr. Peter Nesbitt (SFS ’12) of South Dakota stressed that the liberal arts should be a part of but not the center of a Georgetown education, and that the university exists to educate elite technocrats (among others). Affirmation keynoter Miss Emma Green (COL ’12) of Tennessee fired back with a fascinating history of the evolution of Jesuit education and a persuasive argument for the efficacy of a liberal arts education to impart practical skills through deep pursuits. Also making his induction, Mr. Richard Sassoon (SFS ’11) of New York utilized great wit to emphasize the economic and social superiority of specialized education over and against the liberal arts.
The fiercely-fought floor debate fleshed out the intricacies of the topic. Mr. Henderson challenged affirmation assumptions about the utility of intellectualism. Miss McCarthy infused science, and in particular geology, biology, and dentistry, to argue for the centrality of the liberal arts to her undergraduate education. Mr. Dulik provided the Tea Party’s oeuvre as a shining example of the institutional changes which he believes the university should implement for the betterment of its students. Mr. Butterworth passionately presented his perspective that undergraduate education provides a foundation of life, and that the liberal arts provide the best foundation to this end. Each speaker, affirmation and negation, provided a living example that the university is doing at least something right in terms of its current pedagogy. The Society affirmed the resolution 35 to 12 with one abstaining.

Please join us on September 30th for “Resolved: Greed is Good”!



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