Liberal Ideals and Professional Aims in American Higher Education: Arguments Based on Western Philosophers’ Views

Wei Xu


Different western philosophers argued for the aims of education, especially higher education, with a focus on either its liberal ideals or professional aims, or both. Their philosophical views reflect the respective rationality of liberal education and vocational preparation in American higher education. To meet the diverse demands of labor market in such an economically and politically changeable world, it is, thus, reasonable to integrate programs in career and technical fields with those in liberal arts fields without losing the goal of general education – cultivating the mind and perfecting the intellect, ultimately reaching the development of the whole person.

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