You are here

The Problem with Rules

Essays on the Meaning and Value of Liberal Education
John Churchill

BUY Cloth · 182 pp. · 5 × 8 · ISBN 9780813945774 · $26.00 · Feb 2021
BUY Ebook · 182 pp. · ISBN 9780813945781 · $21.50 · Feb 2021

There is a constant drumbeat of commentary claiming that STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—are far more valuable in today’s economy than traditional liberal arts courses such as philosophy or history. Many even claim that the liberal arts are "under siege" by neoliberal politicians and cost-conscious university administrators. In a forceful response, The Problem with Rules establishes the essential value of the liberal arts as the pedagogical pathway to critical thinking and moral character and argues for more not less emphasis in higher education.

John Churchill asserts that the liberal arts are more than decorative frills. Drawing from the philosophy of Wittgenstein to craft a cogent, inspired argument, Churchill insists on the liberal arts’ indispensable role, providing in this book a clarion call to politicians, university administrators, and all Americans to recognize and actively support and nurture the liberal arts.


The field of higher education is currently engaged in a highly contentious debate over the value of a liberal arts education. Churchill wants his readers to consider, to deliberate in his words, the question of the value and the meaning of the liberal arts from a new angle, one which allows for vagueness, uncertainly, and change. His book meets his goal in an elegant and thought-provoking fashion.

Catherine Berheid, Skidmore College, included in Sociology: Learning Climates That Cultivate Racial and Ethnic Diversity

About the Author(s): 

The late John Churchill was Executive Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa from 2001 to 2016 and Professor of Philosophy at Hendrix College.

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Books