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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Jul 20, 2023

[This is one of the finalists in the 2023 book review contest, written by an ACX reader who will remain anonymous until after voting is done. I’ll be posting about one of these a week for several months. When you’ve read them all, I’ll ask you to vote for a favorite, so remember which ones you liked]

“The promise of a new educational theory”, writes Kieran Egan, “has the magnetism of a newspaper headline like ‘Small Earthquake in Chile: Few Hurt’”.

But — could a new kind of school make the world rational?

I discovered the work of Kieran Egan in a dreary academic library. The book I happened to find — Getting it Wrong from the Beginning — was an evisceration of progressive schools. As I worked at one at the time, I got a kick out of this.

To be sure, broadsides against progressivist education aren’t exactly hard to come by. But Egan’s account went to the root, deeper than any critique I had found. Better yet, as I read more, I discovered he was against traditionalist education, too — and that he had constructed a new paradigm that incorporated the best of both.