Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 month ago

Can you paraphrase the last sentence?

"Rather than providing an apprenticeship for a guild of priests or lawyers, the Scottish universities increasingly sought to provide an education, a set of tools for thinking and discussing. This learning was defined as ‘polite’ rather than narrowly ‘useful’."

2 Answers

  • blank
    Lv 6
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    It means the process of providing a general education and teaching how to think critically was preferred over teaching / training for a particular skill set.   At least contextually that is what is seems to imply.

    Now it could be argured that over an entire population that teaching general knowledge and critical thinking is both polite and useful more so than training for specific careers.

    Sure, society needs doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc - specific skill sets for highly technical fields - BUT - there would be less need for certain fields if an entire population had improved ability to think critically and was generally wiser/educated.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I have a feeling that 'polite' meant something different in those times than it means now.

    'Polite' derives from the Greek 'polis' meaning 'the general body of (educated) people in a place'.   In that context it seems to mean 'learning which enabled people of good social standing to operate in a knowledgeable and well rounded way'.  But note that I have made that assumption - await answers from more knowledgeable people.

    'Polis' also gives rise to 'police' and 'politics' - things to do with running society in a civilised way.

    'Polite' these days means saying 'please' and 'thankyou' and holding doors open for little old ladies and similar social niceties.

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