skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » , » Write a short essay on Henry Newman's anti- utilitarianism

Henry Newman's anti- utilitarianism

Cardinal Newman is one of the prominent and powerful prose  writers of the 19th century. The lectures John Henry Cardinal Newman delivered in Dublin to which Newman came to found a Catholic University on the aims of education are compiled together under the title The Idea of a University. These lectured published in 1852 are considered as a classic statement of the value of 'the disciplined intellect', which as Newman tells us, could be well developed by a liberal education rather than by a technical training. It does not mean that Newman anti-utilitarianism  has altogether discarded the technical training; rather he puts his emphasis on the good and useful aspects of liberal education. His objections are against the necessity of education as viewed by the utilitarian like John Locke. That education or anything must have a sort of 'utility' and usefulness in the sense that it has a market value is something opposed by Newman in his article written in the from of discourse.

Newman pleaded for the non-utilitarian cultivation of "intellectual excellence" under ecclesiastical supervision. The task of the University would be the creation of true gentlemen. amply developed in mind and manners. He advances the conservative ideal "liberal education" which is pursued for its own sake.

In the essay "The Idea of a University" Newman advocates that Liberal Education is the "business of a University" By liberal education Newman means which is not servile, not physical or mechanical in nature. To him liberal education is that education which produces nothing tangible or profitable but which is invaluable in a sense for it maintains its ground for ages because of its self-sufficiency and independent value. It is an education which does not have market value and is quite different from instruction. Newman points out that Liberal Education is the training process by which the intellect, instead of being dedicated and directed to some particular end or to some specific trade or profession so that it may ve 'utility' and therefore, a market value; is disciplined for its own sake and also for the nourishment of a higher culture. Newman in his approach is fundamentally and principally against the Utilitarian is view that education must have a pragmatic value. In the essay Newman points out the difference between liberal and professional education. Professional education is something which according to the Utilitarian is always useful. Newman has something to say against this concept of useful education. In his opinion something which is useful may not be good all the time but something which is good is always useful. Good is not only good but reproductive of good.'  And since intellect is such an excellent portion of us,its cultivation would obviously be excellent. the cultivation of the intellect therefore must be useful to The possessor of intellect and since every good thing imparts its goodness, the cultivation of one's intellect is useful to all around him.

So Liberal Education is the exercise of the mind, of intellect, of reason. This liberal education is often contrasted with commercial or professional education. One main aspect of liberal education is that liberal knowledge is independent of results; it has no end; it is pursued for its own sake. According to Newman, thus, many learned professionals are not liberal because they serve some end beyond them. He is against the Lockian view that "no education is useful which does not teach us some temporal calling, or some mechanical. art, or some physical secret." 

In professing his ideas Newman is completely anti-utilitarian in The Idea of a University. But Newman's ideas are not whoily acceptable. Newman's argument can be accepted only to some extent. His theory that liberal education is independent of results is not tenable in the modern perspective. Education for the sake of education is a renaissance concept, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, literature, arts, language and philosophy were taught to educate and expand the minds and hearts of the students. Universities were the centres of excellence, and arts and theology were pursued for their own sake. But today the concept of education has changed. Mere useless knowledge does not serve the purpose of the students. Knowledge must aim at the twin objectives of practical usefulness and humanistic development. University today is not simply a seat of gentleman's education. Sit must combine excellence and relevance. So, Newman's ideas, however high-flown and erudite they may be, are not wholly relevant to the modern age, which is basically an age of specialisation.


Post a Comment

Back To Top