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Allan Bloom

  • American philosopher
  • Born September 14, 1930
  • Died October 7, 1992

Allan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 – October 7, 1992) 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,Tel Aviv University, 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.


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?




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.




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.




Authentic values are those by which a life can be lived, which can form a people that produces great deeds and thoughts.




Education is the movement from darkness to light.




The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.




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.




Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidiest and most pernicious illusion.




The real community of man is the community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers.




As soon as tradition has come to be recognized as tradition, it is dead.




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.




Reason transformed into prejudice is the worst form of prejudice, because reason is the only instrument for liberation from prejudice.




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.




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 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.




The most important function of the university in an age of reason is to protect reason from itself.




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.




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.




Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music.



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