NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ832226
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1068-3844
A Reply to John Searle and Other Traditionalists
Brice, Robert Greenleaf
Multicultural Education, v16 n2 p37-40 Win 2008
In an article entitled "Traditionalists & Their Challengers," John Searle says there is "supposed to be a major debate" in the universities as to whether liberal education should be replaced with multiculturalism. He finds this debate "puzzling," "disappointing," even "depressing." By dividing academia into two groups, the so-called "defenders of the tradition" and their "challengers," Searle says he hopes to "expose some common core assumptions of each stating naively, the traditionalists' view of higher education and equally naively, the most obvious of the challengers' objections to it." Despite such claims to offer an even-handed approach to the debate, Searle unfairly and inaccurately represents challengers' assumptions. For all his "best efforts," Searle presents the challengers' position in such a weak way that no sane person would accept it. While some errors are more egregious than others, Searle's list of challengers' assumptions expose a misplaced belief that he and other traditionalists share: challengers pose a threat to higher education. The threat comes in many different forms; Searle lists seven: (1) Too much emphasis is placed on subgroups and culture. This comes at the expense of "standard" interpretations of history, social/political movements, etc.; (2) There is the threat that if people accept "all" cultures as equal they shall slip into "cultural relativism"; (3) The belief that "every" culture must be represented; (4) Education is political. It is an attempt to make students share the same political views as those of the instructor; (5) Challengers have no objective standards. (Another threat posed by relativism.); (6) In the academy, a marriage exists between left-wing politics and anti-rationalism; and (7) The belief that Western civilization is oppressive. In this article, the author considers many of these assumptions/threats in some detail and shows where traditionalists like Searle are in error. (Contains 31 notes.)
Caddo Gap Press. 3145 Geary Boulevard PMB 275, San Francisco, CA 94118. Tel: 415-666-3012; Fax: 415-666-3552; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A