Editor's comment

Will and Ariel Durant's great work, the ten volumes of The Story of Civilization continues to educate readers.

His 1926 book The Story of Philosophy is still in print and is the inspiration for this web site.


Durant, Will: "Education" The Pleasures of Philosophy, Simon and Schuster, New York 1953 (185 words)— a different view of education


We dislike education, because it was not presented to us in our youth for what it is. Consider it not as the painful accumulation of facts and dates, but as an ennobling intimacy with great ideas. Consider it not as the preparation of the individual to “make a living,” but as the development of every potential capacity in him for the comprehension, control, and appreciation of his world.

Above all, consider it, in its fullest definition, as the technique of transmitting as completely as possible, to as many as possible, that technological, intellectual, moral, and artistic heritage through which the race forms the growing individual and makes him human.

Education is the reason why we behave like human beings. We are hardly born human; we are born ridiculous and malodorous animals; we become human, we have our humanity thrust upon us through the hundred channels whereby the past pours down into the present that mental and cultural inheritance whose preservation, accumulation and transmission place humankind today on a higher plane than any generation has ever reached before.