Letters to the Editor

Peter Acton et al.

Small talk

Dear Editor,

Your reviewer, Colin Steele, was too kind in his appraisal of Professor Helen Small’s disturbingly inadequate attempt to make a case for the humanities in her book The Value of the Humanities (May 2014).

Claims based on moral improvement and promoting democracy are certainly attractive and undoubtedly make humanities practitioners feel good about themselves. It is conceivable that we might one day live in a society that thinks these are a good thing for a government to invest in, though we seem to be some little way from that nirvana at present. Given the exclusive focus of our educational funders on short-term economic outcomes, Professor Small’s determination to ignore the very real value of a humanities education for commercial careers seems culpably negligent.

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