R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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From First Thoughts

A careful reader wrote to complain. My recent web essay on General Education at Harvard cited the following from the Final Report: “The aim of liberal education is to unsettle presumptions, to defamiliarize the familiar, to reveal what is going on beneath and behind appearances, to disorient . . . . Continue Reading »

Harvard's Postmodern Curriculum

From Web Exclusives

A few years ago, the academic mandarins in Cambridge embarked on a round of curricular revision. This does not surprise. The no-there-there Core developed in the 1960s was never coherent. It endorsed the suspect “teaching ways of thinking” approach to education that basically divided up . . . . Continue Reading »

Obama

From First Thoughts

Well, the Clinton express seems to have suffered a delay in Iowa. Barack Obama is an interesting political phenomenon. His inter-racial identity makes him a symbolic blank screen onto which Americans can project their perennial post-cultural fantasies. The early Republic was filled with claims that . . . . Continue Reading »

Nietzsche's Deeper Truth

From the January 2008 Print Edition

At the outset of On the Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche reports that his polemical book of pseudo-history, pseudo-anthropology, and pseudo-psychology is an exercise in knowing ourselves. We cannot simply investigate morality and Christianity, as if these were topics we could entertain with . . . . Continue Reading »

Universities and the Left

From First Thoughts

The recent unpleasantness at Princeton brought to mind Villanova professor Robert Maranto’s musing about the ideological tilt of academia, ” As A Republican, I’m on the Fringe .” It’s a familiar story. There are far more liberals and Marxists in the professoriate than . . . . Continue Reading »

More On Pascal’s Rule

From First Thoughts

Robert Miller rightly points out that science is consequential. It matters whether or not my doctor understands the nature of sickness and has at his disposal some strategies for cure. But Pascal’s Rule does not say that science is inconsequential. His Rule only points out that questions that . . . . Continue Reading »

Pascal’s Rule

From First Thoughts

Pascal once wrote, in so many words, that the certainty of our knowledge is inversely proportional to its significance. The truths of physics give us no words to say to a friend dying of cancer. Evolutionary biology cannot console us at the graveside. . . . . Continue Reading »