Allan Bloom

(Allan David Bloom)

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  • Born: September 14, 1930
  • Died: October 7, 1992
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Philosopher

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41

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Allan David Bloom was an American philosopher, classicist, and academician. He studied under David Grene, Leo Strauss, Richard McKeon, and Alexandre Kojève. He subsequently taught at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Yale University, École Normale Supérieure of Paris, and the University of Chicago. Bloom championed the idea of Great Books education and became famous for his criticism of contemporary American higher education, with his views being expressed in his bestselling 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind. Characterized as a conservative in the popular media, Bloom denied that he was a conservative, and asserted that what he sought to defend was the "theoretical life". Saul Bellow wrote Ravelstein, a roman à clef based on Bloom, his friend and colleague at the University of Chicago.

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Although every man in democracy thinks himself individually the equal of every other man, this makes it difficult to resist the collectivity of equal men. If all opinions are equal, then the majority of opinions, on the psychological analogy of politics, should hold sway. Equality & Equal Opportunity
First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society. Parents can no longer control the atmosphere of the home and have lost even the will to do so. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even specially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities. Freedom & Liberty
Liberal democracies exist only where there are free universities. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Students now arrive at the university ignorant and cynical about our political heritage, lacking the wherewithal to be either inspired by it or seriously critical of it. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
This is the American moment in world history and one for which we shall ever be judged. History
As soon as tradition has come to be recognized as tradition, it is dead.
Authentic values are those by which a life can be lived, which can form a people that produces great deeds and thoughts. Life
Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Education is the movement from darkness to light. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise... specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine. Success ;Families, Children & Parenting
Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music. Music, Chants & Rapps
Only Socrates knew, after a lifetime of unceasing labor, that he was ignorant. Now every high-school student knows that. How did it become so easy?
Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidiest and most pernicious illusion.
Reason transformed into prejudice is the worst form of prejudice, because reason is the only instrument for liberation from prejudice.
Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the public authority of the entertainment industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until they grew up and would understand later.
The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency - the belief that the here and now is all there is. Failure
The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.
The most important function of the university in an age of reason is to protect reason from itself.
The real community of man is the community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers. Truth
The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.
There is no real teacher who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul, or in a magic that acts on it through speech. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. Truth
We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.