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Liberal Art Studies - Essay Example

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The Professional and Liberal Arts There are those who would argue that liberal arts and what happens in a professional or public career do not or should not mix. In the professional world, Machiavellian ethics are viewed as more commonplace than the ethics of, say, Cicero…
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Download file to see previous pages Perhaps in more authoritarian societies using cunning and deceit are necessary to rise out of poverty, but one would hope that in a free society that although using the end to justify immoral means may give a person wealth, it will damage their souls and lead to negative consequences in the end. In this sense, the liberal arts are important because they serve as a guide for moral and ethical behavior and show that one’s duty to the state and their fellow man is rewarding in many ways, even economically. This essay will focus on the importance of the liberal arts in modern as well as ancient times through the writings of Kimball, Shorris, Sullivan, Cicero, and Machiavelli. Additionally, the essay will focus on the problems that arise when what is viewed as modern realism is pitted against traditional moral idealism. The liberal arts can certainly have a positive effect on professional life. The liberal arts teach of things like ethics and integrity. Shorris believes that humanities does function on its own, but does not have its full effect unless it is integrated into professional life (2000). The ancient Greeks also believed it was essential to the welfare of the state that humanities and public life function together. Morals are generally inherent in any professional career. Being a professional carries with it a responsibility to clients, communities, and society in general. This social contract is the basis of professionalism. Therefore it is important that professionals exercise moral judgment in their professional careers. Because a professional is confronted with moral dilemmas, a liberal education is something that is very useful to society in general. A liberal education teaches us about morals and can be seen as something that makes a person’s professional career more rewarding when it is fully guided by ethical principles. Many people feel that a job is just a job and is a means to an end, but the study of liberal arts tell us that a person and their job can’t be completely separated. In other words, a person influences the job and the job influences the person. Because of this, it is important to realize that a job, or making money, can often impose moral decisions upon the professional. Also, a person who is very immoral and unethical can use their job as a means to lie, cheat, and steal from others. Sullivan believes that, at its best, a profession can provide an important benefit to the individual as well as to society as a whole. However, at its worst, a profession can strip a person of their ethics and their humanity (2004). Using this definition he illustrates that professionalism is headed down a dangerous road as more and more people feel that economic ambition is the only thing that matters and things like loyalty and social responsibility are being thrown by the wayside. Sullivan also believes that society is in danger of simply training people instead of educating them and explains that this could lead to people only using one small part of their brain. Often certain professionals are only focused on the technical aspect of their career and do not regard anything else as important. This type of person may be doing their job but they are not engaged in examining their lives and therefore it is difficult for them to achieve a truly fulfilled working life. The study of liberal arts is something that is capable of making a person’s everyday life better because it can take a person out of their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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