The Integrated Approach

What is an integrated approach?

Concourse is animated by the conviction that educating the best minds of tomorrow requires countering the prevailing – and growing – fragmentation and hyper-specialization of the American university. While specialization may be necessary, it is not enough.

To be truly educated, and to fulfill our real potential as scholars, we cannot simply know or do one thing well, valuable as that may be. We have to know the goodness and purpose of what we do (how it can nourish life and well-being), and the humanistic disciplines are those that school us for those questions.

How do we implement this approach?

In conjunction with the foundational classes of math and science, we study the great tradition of Western philosophy and literature that preceded, accompanied and followed the establishment of modern science.

To avoid living the unexamined life, which Socrates famously says “is not worth living,” we must return to the great books that transcend our fragmented disciplines. Only then can we shape our world deliberately and wisely rather than be simply shaped by it.

How can science benefit from an integrated approach?

Science and its powerful offspring, modern technology, have generated extraordinary but not uncomplicated benefits for mankind. Concourse aims to prepare the leaders of tomorrow to address these complications thoughtfully by studying the work of those who have sought a comprehensive understanding of human life and the proper ordering of human goods.

We learn from the books we study that modern science differs from an older science by being primarily concerned with what works. Thoughtful human beings, however, need to ask what the relation is between what works and a genuine knowledge of nature. We aim to recover that clarity for ourselves through our study of foundational works.

By request: here are our CPW 2024 slides (4/3/24 presentation).