O melhor desta discussão sobre a utilidade do ensino das ciências humanas vem depois, nas reações ao texto. Os comentários – numerosos – mostram pontos de vista interessantíssimos a respeito do assunto e são escritos por gente que ensina na área de humanas.
Mas critico este comentário do autor:
Teachers of literature and philosophy are competent in a subject, not in a ministry. It is not the business of the humanities to save us, no more than it is their business to bring revenue to a state or a university. What then do they do? They don’t do anything, if by “do” is meant bring about effects in the world. And if they don’t bring about effects in the world they cannot be justified except in relation to the pleasure they give to those who enjoy them.
Ele diz que o ensino de literatura e filosofia não traz conseqüências ao mundo além do prazer pessoal de usufruí-los? Será que eu entendi errado? Que idéia estapafúrdia.
Muitos dos comentários também rebatem essa idéia do autor. Algumas respostas dos comentários:
“The correct response when someone condescendingly asks you about the value of the humanities is simply to say to them “If you need to ask that question, then you obviously don’t understand enough to be discussing the topic in the first place.”
“The most unique features of being human are the ability to form sound judgments in our conduct and our ability to communicate effectively. To a very large extent, study of the humanities is indispensable to the development of those abilities.
Perhaps, if some of our national leaders had done their humanities homework, our present situation would be substantially better than it is.”
“The essay is devoted to the idea that the humanities have intrinsic rather than instrumental good, but if they are valued because of the pleasure they bring to those who practice them, that is treating them as an instrumental good – a means to pleasure. It is the difference between the aesthetic approach – beauty for beauty’s sake, and the utilitarian approach – beauty for the sake of pleasure.
For myself, some of the pleasure that comes from engaging in the study and teaching of humanities comes from the thought that what I am studying and teaching is intrinsically worthwhile: if it were good as a means to my pleasure, it would not be quite so pleasant.”