These pernicious ideas have grown in strength since Hutchins wrote in 1951. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the “four horsemen of the philosophical apocalypse” now permeate most public and private schools. According to Hutchins, these four horsemen were harbingers of “the disintegration of the West.”

The 4 Horsemen of the Philosophical Apocalypse

Intellectual trends of modern education: “The four horsemen of the philosophical apocalypse”

These pernicious ideas have grown in strength since Hutchins wrote in 1951. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the “four horsemen of the philosophical apocalypse” now permeate most public and private schools.  

According to Hutchins, these four horsemen were harbingers of “the disintegration of the West.”

 

Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899-1977) was the dean of Yale Law School, the president of the University of Chicago, and one of the more influential philosophers of education in the 20th century.

In a stirring passage from a series of lectures he gave in 1951, Hutchins identified four intellectual trends that had been absolutely disastrous for modern education. He called these trends “the four horsemen of the philosophical apocalypse”:

“If the object of education is the improvement of men, then any system of education that is without values is a contradiction in terms. A system that seeks bad values is bad. A system that denies the existence of values denies the possibility of education. Relativism, scientism, skepticism, and anti-intellectualism, the four horsemen of the philosophical apocalypse, have produced that chaos in education which will end in the disintegration of the West.”

Here are brief descriptions of each of “the four horsemen” and their impact on education:

1) Relativism:

The idea that notions of true and false, right and wrong, are purely subjective. Generally speaking, you can see its impact on education today through the exaltation of “tolerance” as the highest virtue, in addition to the changing of the purpose of education from helping students to pursue truth to the pragmatic goal of making them “college- and career-ready.”

2) Scientism:

3) Skepticism:

4) Anti-Intellectualism:

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