Liberal Education: Analog Dreams in a Digital Age

Karim Dharamsi, David Clemis (Eds.)

by Graham W. Taylor (University of Guelph), Carolyn Willekes (Mount Royal University), Ronald Peter Glasberg (University of Calgary), James Cunningham (Mount Royal University), Deborah Forbes (Medicine Hat College, Canada), Allison Dube (Mount Royal University; Canada), Rory Schacter (The University of Tokyo, Japan), Kathryn Shailer

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The essays in this collection contemplate the various intersections and barriers between artificial intelligence along with the values and practices of liberal education. For the proponents of liberal education as a core component of undergraduate education, the study of literature, history, philosophy, and the social sciences, like their objects and their forms of practice, are perceived to be about what is essentially human. In spheres previously thought to be exclusively human domains, modern, digitally-constructed artificial intelligence has profound implications for liberal studies, how they may be practiced, and why they are important. This collection explores the implications of AI and the world it is shaping as a potential threat and augmentation of liberal education. These essays also demonstrate how liberal studies illuminate the meaning and significance of AI and how they have shaped its development and character.

The contributors to this volume write from the perspectives of philosophy, classical studies, political theory, fine art, curriculum development, and computing and information science. Several essays consider how the conventional concerns and agendas of liberal education have acquired a new urgency in the digital age. They reflect upon how the deployment of artificial intelligence confronts and problematizes what it means to be human, and how liberal education is needed to preserve and ensure what makes us humans thrive. Other essays consider how AI must be understood as an extension of our humanity and how the ethos must inform the further development and deployment of new technologies of liberal education. These challenging essays pose hard questions and the unflinching exploration of matters at the cutting edge of science, culture, and how they merge together with education.

Stephen Biscotte, Joyce Lucke

Introduction: Analog Ideals in a Digital Age
Karim Dharamsi, David Clemis
Mount Royal University

Chapter 1 Teachers of Humans, Teachers of Machines
Graham W. Taylor
University of Guelph

Chapter 2 Deus ex Machina: From the Ancient World to AI
Carolyn Willekes
Mount Royal University

Chapter 3 Framing a Liberal Arts Response to the Cyberverse: A Fable of Four Apples
Ronald Peter Glasberg
University of Calgary

Chapter 4 Human and Not Too Human
James Cunningham
Mount Royal University

Chapter 5 AI, Andy, Alan, Algorithms, and Boden: The A’s and B's of Making Art with Aesthetic Meaning
Deborah Forbes
Medicine Hat College

Chapter 6 Benthamite Considerations of the Threat of Artificial Intelligence to Liberal Education
Allison Dube
Mount Royal University

Chapter 7 The Philosopher of FOMO: Tocqueville and the Paradoxes of Digital Individualism
Rory Schacter
The University of Tokyo

Chapter 8 Beyond Disruption: A Case for Integrated Studies
Kathryn Shailer
Independent Scholar



Karim Dharamsi, Ph.D., is Vice-Provost, Academic and Professor of Philosophy at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He has published articles in the philosophy of history, on the philosophy of R.G. Collingwood, Wittgenstein, Frege, the philosophy of education and liberal education. He has served as chair of the Department of General Education at Mount Royal University and is a former Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary.

David Clemis, Ph.D., is Director of Liberal Education and Associate Professor of History at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He has published articles on drug and alcohol history in Early Modern Europe and British social and cultural history. He is a former chair of the Department of General Education at Mount Royal University.

Liberal Studies; Higher Education; Education and Technology; Artificial Intelligence

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Liberal Education: Analog Dreams in a Digital Age





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

September 2023