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Ag3ma

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Yes.

I'm explaining where the name "liberal arts" actually comes from.
"late 14c., translating Latin artes liberales; the name for the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, rather than immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (liberal in this sense is opposed to servile or mechanical)."

You're right on a couple points. Natural sciences fall under liberal arts, but what you're missing is that in the 14th century, scientists were all in the aristocracy. The middle class didn't exist, the lower class weren't scientists, and learning science was not a pathway between the classes (except maybe if the Church was involved). Natural sciences weren't something a person studied to elevate their position in society, it is something that people already in elevated positions used their time and talent on.
In the 14th century, aristocrats generally didn't go to university. Why would they? Being intellectual was not their job and universities mostly didn't teach the subjects aristocrats needed to know, and inasmuch as they needed various knowledge and skills would have private tutors. Aristocrats did start going to university more into the Renaissance and beyond, though, as aristocracy became more involved than being a landowning warrior elite.

When they started, the main subjects at universities were theology (generally for the clergy), law and medicine. Liberal arts maybe a little later. I think the clergy was possibly the largest single industry graduates would go into irrespective of degree initially. However, lawyers, civil servants and merchants would also be substantial routes. Thus universities were largely for the upper middle classes, and the upper middle classes still generally had to work.

When we talk about a "free man", the conception here is someone capable of indepdence, self-agency, and fit to be part of civic society with the ability to make wise decisions for themselves and society. Obviously, what this means this does exist within the culture of the times. One might perhaps equate with the idea of political enfranchisement (voters), for instance that inasmuch as democratic processes existed in the medieval era, they were almost entirely exercised by the middle classes. One can think, perhaps, about ancient Athens or Rome, and the notion of the "citizen".

The other thing you're right about is that liberal arts represents a philosophy of education that permeates all fields at all levels, and that's kind of the problem. The foundation of the education we are giving to youth is "how to be a well-rounded and intellectual wealthy person", and then telling people that more education will lead to more wealth. Can you not appreciate the frustration of the those who spent decades of their life force-fed the hobbies of the rich from centuries ago, sometimes taking out massive loans to support this lifestyle, under the promise of eventual wealth that likely never actually comes?
This is a well-recognised tension within higher education - whether it's general self-improvement or a route to a job. However, I think most students entering university these days do so with one of those aims in mind, and in turn universities are very clearly marketing themselves and their courses with statistics such as likelihood of getting a (well paid?) job. In theory, neither necessarily precludes the other.
 

tstorm823

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This is a well-recognised tension within higher education - whether it's general self-improvement or a route to a job. However, I think most students entering university these days do so with one of those aims in mind, and in turn universities are very clearly marketing themselves and their courses with statistics such as likelihood of getting a (well paid?) job. In theory, neither necessarily precludes the other.
I believe this is one of those "lies, damned lies, and statistics" moments. There is definitely a correlation between a degree and higher income, but is one of those variables dependent on the other, or are do they correlate because of shared causes? Does a degree lead to higher earnings, or is the person in a position to get a degree also in the position to find higher earning work before taking a single class? There are some places where higher degrees directly increase pay, teaching being the big one, but that's an artificial structure, and only applies to people who can get those jobs in the first place.

Nearly all forms of advertising are evil though, I shouldn't point that finger just at colleges.
 

Ag3ma

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I believe this is one of those "lies, damned lies, and statistics" moments. There is definitely a correlation between a degree and higher income, but is one of those variables dependent on the other, or are do they correlate because of shared causes? Does a degree lead to higher earnings, or is the person in a position to get a degree also in the position to find higher earning work before taking a single class? There are some places where higher degrees directly increase pay, teaching being the big one, but that's an artificial structure, and only applies to people who can get those jobs in the first place.
Er, degrees are selective: if someone doesn't have sufficient standards they don't get in. So they automatically do a certain amount of filtering.

Also, degrees are very much gateways to a lot of higher earning professions. As they very reasonably should be, because most people want medical doctors, engineers etc. to be extensively trained before they are let loose on the world.
 

tstorm823

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Also, degrees are very much gateways to a lot of higher earning professions. As they very reasonably should be, because most people want medical doctors, engineers etc. to be extensively trained before they are let loose on the world.
Both of those fields require extensive work under the supervision of licensed professionals before you can attempt to attain a license yourself. The schooling is actually not the bigger part of the training already. If we imagine a world not built around liberal arts education, I'm not sure the classroom study would even be seen as necessary.
 

Ag3ma

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Both of those fields require extensive work under the supervision of licensed professionals before you can attempt to attain a license yourself. The schooling is actually not the bigger part of the training already. If we imagine a world not built around liberal arts education, I'm not sure the classroom study would even be seen as necessary.
Just about any professional job requires extensive periods of work under supervision, often in the period of years, even if not necessarily with a formalised professional exam. The average university lecturer, for instance, has gone through 3-6 years of postdoctoral work, which is in essence supervised professional training.

The point being, why should one of those professionals, or the profession as a whole, take people on - with risk that they don't make the grade - unless they've demonstrated a sufficient level of competence? Do we want to put potentially incompetent people in a position where they can cause a lot of damage because their supervisor can't be looking over their shoulder every minute? Is it remotely efficient to divert huge amounts of these professionals' time from doing their job onto basic training?

Thus, degrees.
 

tstorm823

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The point being, why should one of those professionals, or the profession as a whole, take people on - with risk that they don't make the grade - unless they've demonstrated a sufficient level of competence? Do we want to put potentially incompetent people in a position where they can cause a lot of damage because their supervisor can't be looking over their shoulder every minute? Is it remotely efficient to divert huge amounts of these professionals' time from doing their job onto basic training?

Thus, degrees.
Are you aware of the costs and time put into those degrees? The amount of money, physical infrastructure, professors with potentially a decade or more in school, dedicated to operating the degree programs that you want to weed out bad hires? That's definitely not more efficient.

And you can always weed those out in different ways. Require people to work hours in non-critical positions where they won't hurt anyone to verify their general competence first. Or maybe administer a test just like we do for lots of things, but without requiring 4+ years of dumping your time and money down the toilet before you're allowed to take it.
 

Ag3ma

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Are you aware of the costs and time put into those degrees? The amount of money, physical infrastructure, professors with potentially a decade or more in school, dedicated to operating the degree programs that you want to weed out bad hires? That's definitely not more efficient.
Given that I teach at a university, have been a course lead for a degree, and have had some involvement in the business case planning for degrees (although I'm not going to oversell that one as I was relatively peripheral to the financial side), I'm probably more aware than most people here. I know, for instance, how much it costs to train a medical student at my university, and the broad breakdown of what all that money is spent on (I'm not telling you, it's commercially sensitive information).

Let's say you distribute 100 medical students across 100 medical doctors to learn. That means when a student has to be taught haemostasis, 100 medical doctors on whatever it is they are paid take an hour out of their day (call it $100/h) to teach them. Bearing in mind a load of medical doctors don't really remember all that stuff and need to get it right, it's probably more like 3-4 hours of their time because they will need prep time, and frankly they might also be poor teachers because that's not the skillset of their day job. Or you can stick those 100 medical students in a room for an hour where a scientist with a PhD in haematology on a fraction of a medical salary has put together a professional teaching presentation.

Students may need about 20-25 hours of contact time a week (although only for about half the year), so with prep time included call it 50h a week teaching for every one of those doctors tutoring a student individually. Maybe they'll even squeeze in treating a patient somewhere. Okay, granted there can be some "learning on the job" so to speak rather than necessarily a formal 1h tuition, but you're still talking a huge amount of physician time diverted from doing medicine. And of course, the student's paying for that (or their sponsor), plus whatever clinical providers in terms of placements, equipment, etc. for their patient-facing time.

Next, who's doing the bureaucracy and quality assurance on all this tuition? Presumably you still want the prospective medical student to pass a qualifying exam (USMLE, UK MLA or equivalent) before they cut loose on patients. So who's ensuring that we make sure each and every doctor is teaching the right curriculum, is teaching to the curriculum, and is a fit and suitable teacher? Where are the liabilities here? If something goes wrong with the tuition, who gets sued - do doctors want to risk that liability? Is there sufficient capacity of willing doctors to meet tuition needs, and given the time it will take out of their day, does the health system have capacity to spare doctors from their job treating people?
 

Trunkage

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Could you rephrase that? I'm not sure I follow what you are suggesting.
Sorry, I'm trying to distinguish between Capitalism and our version of Capitalism, which has very little to do with Capitalism. I think it's really important but makes explaining myself terrible. I'll take this out:

'You are talking about is what Capitalism values as opposed to what society deems valuable'
 

tstorm823

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Given that I teach at a university, have been a course lead for a degree, and have had some involvement in the business case planning for degrees (although I'm not going to oversell that one as I was relatively peripheral to the financial side), I'm probably more aware than most people here. I know, for instance, how much it costs to train a medical student at my university, and the broad breakdown of what all that money is spent on (I'm not telling you, it's commercially sensitive information).

Let's say you distribute 100 medical students across 100 medical doctors to learn. That means when a student has to be taught haemostasis, 100 medical doctors on whatever it is they are paid take an hour out of their day (call it $100/h) to teach them. Bearing in mind a load of medical doctors don't really remember all that stuff and need to get it right, it's probably more like 3-4 hours of their time because they will need prep time, and frankly they might also be poor teachers because that's not the skillset of their day job. Or you can stick those 100 medical students in a room for an hour where a scientist with a PhD in haematology on a fraction of a medical salary has put together a professional teaching presentation.

Students may need about 20-25 hours of contact time a week (although only for about half the year), so with prep time included call it 50h a week teaching for every one of those doctors tutoring a student individually. Maybe they'll even squeeze in treating a patient somewhere. Okay, granted there can be some "learning on the job" so to speak rather than necessarily a formal 1h tuition, but you're still talking a huge amount of physician time diverted from doing medicine. And of course, the student's paying for that (or their sponsor), plus whatever clinical providers in terms of placements, equipment, etc. for their patient-facing time.

Next, who's doing the bureaucracy and quality assurance on all this tuition? Presumably you still want the prospective medical student to pass a qualifying exam (USMLE, UK MLA or equivalent) before they cut loose on patients. So who's ensuring that we make sure each and every doctor is teaching the right curriculum, is teaching to the curriculum, and is a fit and suitable teacher? Where are the liabilities here? If something goes wrong with the tuition, who gets sued - do doctors want to risk that liability? Is there sufficient capacity of willing doctors to meet tuition needs, and given the time it will take out of their day, does the health system have capacity to spare doctors from their job treating people?
You're just imagining school being required in a different setting, you're not imagining school not being required. If a degree were not required, it would certainly not be the death of medical schools. People who want to learn medicine would probably more often than not attend these schools voluntarily. You jumped straight from "everyone must be required to get a degree" to "everyone must be uniformly trained by doctors, paying tuition to them instead". You're very affixed to the idea of uniform, regulated forms of learning, as though all people must acquire knowledge in the same way. But almost everything you might want to learn that can be practiced without a patient in front of you can be found in books just fine.
Sorry, I'm trying to distinguish between Capitalism and our version of Capitalism, which has very little to do with Capitalism. I think it's really important but makes explaining myself terrible. I'll take this out:

'You are talking about is what Capitalism values as opposed to what society deems valuable'
That wasn't the part that's causing the confusion. I didn't say anything explicitly about capitalism or societal values. I'm talking about college degrees being advertised as the path to wealth, are you saying that's something capitalism values, and what would be the alternative societal value?
 

Ag3ma

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You're just imagining school being required in a different setting, you're not imagining school not being required. If a degree were not required, it would certainly not be the death of medical schools. People who want to learn medicine would probably more often than not attend these schools voluntarily. You jumped straight from "everyone must be required to get a degree" to "everyone must be uniformly trained by doctors, paying tuition to them instead". You're very affixed to the idea of uniform, regulated forms of learning, as though all people must acquire knowledge in the same way. But almost everything you might want to learn that can be practiced without a patient in front of you can be found in books just fine.
This is just chucklefuck bullshit and I'm not in the mood to entertain it with good grace.

The argument was not "should you have to go through medical school", the issue was "is medical school efficient", and you got your answer. Don't then pull some new direction out of your backside and then criticise me for not addressing what you didn't ask me to.

There are plenty of white collar professions that require assessment to enter (e.g. law - at least in the UK, accountancy) that do not require a person to have a degree in that subject, and as far as I am concerned that is fine. But even there the recommendation is that you get a degree, and most people do because it works and is efficient - at least at a societal level. But you can't just dream up this idea of some guy who reads some books and has a friendly pro who shows him the ropes gratis, and everything goes great and we can roll that out as the basic way to meet the employment needs of the whole sector. It's horseshit.
 

BrawlMan

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tstorm823

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This is just chucklefuck bullshit and I'm not in the mood to entertain it with good grace.

The argument was not "should you have to go through medical school", the issue was "is medical school efficient", and you got your answer. Don't then pull some new direction out of your backside and then criticise me for not addressing what you didn't ask me to.
Shall we consult the record?
If we imagine a world not built around liberal arts education, I'm not sure the classroom study would even be seen as necessary.
Is it remotely efficient to divert huge amounts of these professionals' time from doing their job onto basic training?
The "new direction" was the original direction. The thing you think I should stick to was your redirection. Nothing I said criticized you. Maybe you took "imagining" like "you're just imagining things", but that was definitely not the intention, I want you to use your imagination for this counterfactual scenario.
There are plenty of white collar professions that require assessment to enter (e.g. law - at least in the UK, accountancy) that do not require a person to have a degree in that subject, and as far as I am concerned that is fine.
Exactly this. There already are licensed fields where a college degree are not necessary.
 

Silvanus

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You're very affixed to the idea of uniform, regulated forms of learning, as though all people must acquire knowledge in the same way. But almost everything you might want to learn that can be practiced without a patient in front of you can be found in books just fine.
If my life is going to be in somebody else's hands, you're damn right I want them to have been taught, trained and assessed in a regulated way. I don't want to be worrying about whether my doctor went to medical school, or whether they just read a bunch of books on their own time and then passed a test.

Effective quality assurance requires regulation and a degree of standardisation-- not just in assessment, but in learning. Otherwise you're simply asking for the requirements to get a medical degree to become massively more lax and permissive, and competence/trust will plummet.
 

tstorm823

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Otherwise you're simply asking for the requirements to get a medical degree to become massively more lax and permissive, and competence/trust will plummet.
The requirements to be a nurse are much more permissive than for doctors, but society trusts nurses more.
 

Silvanus

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The requirements to be a nurse are much more permissive than for doctors, but society trusts nurses more.
The requirements are lower because nursing demands less involved medical knowledge and skill-- which is reasonable.

Society trusts nurses more primarily because of visibility and manner.

I don't quite understand what point you're trying to make. That trust doesn't always correlate with the amount of training, and therefore we shouldn't care if poor training leads to a loss of trust?
 
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Trunkage

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That wasn't the part that's causing the confusion. I didn't say anything explicitly about capitalism or societal values. I'm talking about college degrees being advertised as the path to wealth, are you saying that's something capitalism values, and what would be the alternative societal value?
I speaking to the part where you are talking about the liberal arts being for people with free time. The usefulness of a degree can be split into those that are beneficial economically (like a finance degree) or those that benefit society (painting or music)

I'm expanding on your cart before the horse analogy. Those degrees that are economically viable should be focused on and do the liberal arts thing when you have extra time/money

The problem being is who exactly determines what is an economically viable degree. It's not going to be consumers because there is a gatekeeper who determines what should and should not be produced. And, as we have seen many times over the years, those gatekeepers (CEOS etc) have little understanding of the wants of consumers. They couldn't imagine arts/ sciences/ education/ social interaction as worthy of money, so they depressed what all those degrees could earn by deliberately going out of their way to stop investments in such areas.

(I'll note, that I didn't use the word Capitalism when I could have, as this is clearly not Capitalism. It's just our 'betters' determining how everyone else should live)
 

tstorm823

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That trust doesn't always correlate with the amount of training, and therefore we shouldn't care if poor training leads to a loss of trust?
If trust doesn't correlate to training, why are you still maintaining the assumption that trust would fall.
 

Silvanus

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If trust doesn't correlate to training, why are you still maintaining the assumption that trust would fall.
It doesn't /absolutely/ correlate, depending on situation. There are plenty of situations in which they're nonetheless strongly related.

Imagine if I told you your pilot got his pilot's licence from a two-day online course. Would your trust stay the same? And if not, does that mean trust and training are 100% correlated in society, regardless of profession/responsibility? Obviously not.
 

Phoenixmgs

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No: if you can't actually suggest a line of causation, and just repeat "watch this 15 minute video", that's definitely on you. If you hold a position that X has caused Y you should at least be able to explain why. And if you can't explain why, that indicates you just haven't put much thought into it.
I presented the info, it's all there.

You think the rich getting richer is all republicans not wanting to tax the rich, but a fully democratic run state taxes the rich the least in all of America. Income inequality grows greater because the rich are taxed the least which is directly caused by democratic policy of taxing the rich the least. But, nope, I'm sure in your head, that's not a direct line of causation.

Can we can we please get this back on topic now?
@Silvanus, @Trunkage, and @Ag3ma, you all three do realize this has nothing to do with the shooting now?
So you're allowed to go off topic in other topics but then b!tch about others going off topic when you don't like it?

If you go back far enough, rich was all of it. The very idea of "liberal arts" is that they are knowledge and skills for free people with free time who don't have to labor. The skills one learns in general higher education aren't useless, but they are only useful to those who already otherwise have an elevated position in which to use them. Like, presentation skills are useless without an audience, foreign languages are nothing if you're trapped in your homeland, literature is fun but it isn't a career. These are skills designed for people who would, by circumstances of birth, be destined to travel the world, appear before audiences, and discuss the classics with their peers.

An education in things you are going to do is undoubtedly helpful and worthwhile and I discourage nobody from learning, but the idea of an education in something inherently generating demand for you in the career of your choice is historically relatively recent, and more often then not puts the cart before the horse, and millions are learning the hard way that correlation isn't causation. Degreed people being disproportionately wealthy and successful is not necessarily nor likely caused by the degree.
Many companies do require degrees for jobs that don't need them. I would always tell people that college is the most inefficient way to learn things but I wouldn't advise them not to go because of so many jobs wanting a degree. We're getting to the point (or possibly at the point already) where it's actually not worth going anymore.

Sort of. A degree was basically the main entry route to a middle class (white collar) job. It certainly represented strongly social class, or class aspiration - which sort of encompasses ambition and being rich.

A few decades back there was perhaps greater stratification between the middle and working classes. The middle classes were back then much smaller as a proportion of the population, about 20% in the 1960s. These days, the middle classes are roughly 50% of the population. So as the middle class have expanded, so have the number of people getting degrees also expanded. However, there's also more of a blurred boundary between middle and working class jobs, thus jobs for which degrees are probably excessive.
I have no problem in having people go to school past high school to learn the foundations of whatever career path they want to go on, but at least half the time in college is totally pointless. Plus, that gives people more time to try different things if they aren't feeling their 1st choice. I'm about cutting out the bullshit. At least 90% of jobs (at least starts to careers) don't need a 4 year degree.