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A. Humanities professors have come up with a seemingly foolproof ( 不會錯的)defense against those who trash degrees in, say, English literature or philosophyas wasted tuition dollars, one-way tickets to unemployment. Oh no, we say--thehumanities prepare students to succeed in the working world just as well as all thosealleged practical majors, maybe even better.
B. We offer tools of thought. We teach our students to understand and analyze complexideas. We help them develop powers of expression, written and verbal. The lengthyessays we assign enhance their capacity to do independent work. At our best, weteach them how to reason--and reasoning undergirds (從底層加強,鞏固 ) everysuccessful professional project. In the short term, such a defense may seem effective.
But it is dead wrong.
C. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, a distinguished humanities scholar recentlywrote with pride about a student of his, a classics major, who wrote brilliantly onSpinoza yet plans to become a military surgeon. A recent article in Business Insideroffered "11 Reasons to Ignore the Haters and Major in the Humanities." For example:
You'll be able to do things machines can't do in a service economy. You'll learn toexplain and sell an idea. You'll stand out in the crowd in the coming STEM glut ( 供應過剩 ) . In the same publication, Bracken Darrell, the chief executive of Logitech,talked about why he loves hiring English majors: "The best CEOs and leaders areextremely good writers and have this ability to articulate and verbalize what they'rethinking."
D. Some of my colleagues are getting quite aggressive about this line of reasoning. "lthink we actually do a better job getting people ready for law school and business thanthe people in economics do," a good friend who teaches humanities told me not longago. It seems that there's no problem, then. Want success? Come on in, our tent flap isopen.
E. But the humanities are not about success. They're about questioning success--andevery important social value. Socrates taught us this, and we shouldn't forget it. Sure,someone who studies literature or philosophy is learning to think clearly and writewell. But those skills are means to an end. That end, as Plato said, is learning how tolive one's life. "This discussion is not about any chance question," Plato's Socratessays in The Republic, "but about the way one should live."
F. That's what's at the heart of the humanities--informed, thoughtful dialogue aboutthe way we ought to conduct life. This dialogue honors no pieties: All positions are debatable; all values are up for discussion. Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks for the spirit of the humanities in Self-Reliance when he says that we "must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness." He will not accept what the world calls "good" without consideration. He'll look into it as Socrates did and see if it actually is good. When Montaigne doubts received opinions and asks himself what he really knows and what he does not, he is acting in the spirit of the humanities. "Que sais-Je?" or "What do 1 know?" was his motto.
G. Socrates, who probably concentrates the spirit of the humanities better thananyone, spent his time rambling around Athens asking people if they thought they were living virtuous lives. He believed that his city was getting proud and lazy, like an overfed thoroughbred horse, and that it needed him, the stinging gadfly ( 牛虻) , to wake it up. The Athenians had to ask themselves if the lives they were leading really were good. Socrates didn't help them work their way to success; he helped them work their way to insight and virtue.
H. Now, Americans in love with success—success for their children in particular.As a parent of sons in their 20s, I understand this and sympathize with it. But our job ashumanists isn't to second whatever values happen to be in place in society. We're here to question those values and maybe---using the best that has been thought and said-- offer alternatives.
I. We commonly think in binaries ( 對,雙 ) . Vanilla ( 香草) is the opposite of chocolate. The opposite of success--often defined today as high-status work and a big paycheck--is failure. But the great books tell us that this is not necessarily true. Think of Henry David Thoreau's life of voluntary poverty and his dedication to nature and writing. Some of my students have cultivated values similar to Thoreau's and have done so at least in part through the study of the humanities. They've become environmental activists and park rangers. Or they have worked modestly paid jobs to spend all the time they can outdoors. They are not failures. Nor are those who work for the poor, or who explore their artistic talents, or who enlist in the military. These students are usually not in pursuit of traditional success. They have often been inspired by work they've encountered in humanities courses--and, for a time at least, they are choosing something other than middle-class corporate life.
J. The humanities are not against conventional success; far from it. Many of our students go on to distinguished careers in law and business. But ! like to think they do so with a fuller social and self-awareness than most people. For they have approached success as a matter of debate, not as an idol of worship. They have considered the options. They have called "success" into question and, after due consideration, they have decided to pursue it. I have to imagine that such people are far better employees than those who have moved lockstep ( 因循守舊 ) into their occupations. I also believe that self-aware, questioning people tend to be far more successful in the long run.
K. What makes humanities students different isn't their power of expression, theircapacity to frame an argument or their ability to do independent work. Yes, theseare valuable qualities, and we humanities teachers try to cultivate them. But truehumanities students are exceptional because they have been, and are, engaged in theactivity that Plato commends--seeking to understand themselves and how they oughtto lead their lives.
L. If some of our current defenders have their way, the humanities will survive, but inname only. The humanities will become synonymous (同義的 ) with unreflectivetraining for corporate success. What would Socrates think?
1.[選詞填空]Humanities professors disagree with the opinion that students who major in Englishliterature or philosophy will have trouble hunting for jobs.
    • 解題思路:題干意為,人文學科教授不同意英語文學或哲學專業的學生將會很難就業這一觀點。根據題干中的關鍵詞English literature or philosophy和hunting forjobs可定位到A段。該段首句提到,有些人抨擊英語文學或哲學等學位是浪費學費,是通往失業的單程票。對此,人文學科的教授已經提出了一個貌似無懈可擊的辯解。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選A。
    2.[選詞填空]The author takes Thoreau's example to tell us that being rich does not necessarilymean successful and being poor does not necessarily mean failure.
      • 解題思路:題干意為,作者舉梭羅的例子是為了告訴我們,富有并不一定意味著成功,清貧也不一定意味著失敗。根據題干中的關鍵詞Thoreau可以定位到I段。該段第四句提到,想想亨利·大衛·梭羅清貧的生活和對自然及寫作的熱愛。這句話的出現是為了論證“當下人們的價值觀未必是正確的”。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選I。
      3.[選詞填空]The author thinks their job as humanists is to question the popular values in societyand provide people with different choices.
        • 解題思路:題干意為,作者認為他們作為人文學者的任務就是去質疑社會中流行的價值觀,并為人們提供不同的選擇。根據題干中的關鍵詞theirjob as humanists可定位到H段。該段最后兩句提到,但是作為人文學者,我們的工作不是贊同社會中任何一種恰好大行其道的價值觀。我們的存在是要質疑這些價值觀并且或許——利用已有的思想和言論的精華——提供備選。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選H。
        4.[選詞填空]What makes humanities students outstanding is that they try to be self-aware andfigure out how they should live.
          • 解題思路:題干意為,人文學科的學生卓爾超群是因為他們努力去進行自我認知和弄明白他們應該如何生活。根據題干中的關鍵詞makes humanities students outstanding可定位到K段。該段末句提到,但是人文專業學生真正優秀之處在于他們做過并且正在踐行柏拉圖所推崇的事——力圖了解自己并且知道自己應該過什么樣的生活。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選K。
          5.[選詞填空]Socrates valued the spirit of the humanities the most by guiding the Athenians to livevirtuous lives.
            • 解題思路:題干意為,蘇格拉底最為注重人文學科的精神,他引導雅典人過有德行的生活。根據題干中的關鍵詞Socrates和Athenians可定位到G段。該段首句提到,蘇格拉底可能比任何人都關注人文學科的精神,他經常在雅典城里漫步,詢問人們是否認為他們自己過的是有德行的生活。隨后在該段最后一句指出,蘇格拉底沒有幫助雅典人獲取成功,而是幫助他們獲得洞察力和美德。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選G。
            6.[選詞填空]The reason why the chief executive of Logitech loves hiring English majors isbecause he thinks they are good at writing and expressing.
              • 解題思路:題干意為,羅技公司的首席執行官熱衷于雇用英語專業學生的原因是因為他認為他們擅長寫作和表達。根據題干中的關鍵詞the chief executive ofLogitech和Englishmajors可定位到C段。該段末句中提到,羅技公司的首席執行官萊肯·達雷爾談論了他喜歡雇用英語專業學生的原因:“最好的總裁和領導者都是很出色的寫手,具備闡述自己想法的能力。”由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選C。
              7.[選詞填空]The author believes that people who know themselves well and like to question willbe much more successful in the future.
                • 解題思路:題干意為,作者相信,充分了解自己并且喜歡去質疑的人在將來會更加成功。根據題干中的關鍵詞know themselves well和more successful可定位到J段。該段末句指出,我也相信從長遠來看,有自我意識和質疑精神的人會取得更大的成功。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選J。
                8.[選詞填空]In Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged people to explore the goodnessof things before believing it.
                  • 解題思路:題干意為,在《論自助》中,拉爾夫·沃爾多·愛默生鼓勵人們先去探求事物的“善”而后再去相信它。根據題干中的關鍵詞Self-Reliance和Emerson可定位到F段。該段第三句提到,在《論自助》一文中,拉爾夫·沃爾多·愛默生道出人文學科的精神,他說我們“不應被善的名義羈絆,而必須探求其是否為善”。他不會不假思索地接受世人所的“善”。他會像蘇格拉底那樣探究清楚其是否真的為善。由此可知,題于是對原文的同義轉述,故選F。
                  9.[選詞填空]The ultimate goal of studying literature or philosophy is to learn how to live one'slife.
                    • 解題思路:題干意為,研究文學或哲學的終極目標是學會如何度過一生。根據題干中的關鍵詞goal ofstudying literature or philosophy可定位到E段。該段第四句至第六句中提到,研究文學或哲學的人正在學習如何清楚地思考和如何寫好文章。但是這些技能都只是實現某個終極目標的方式。那個終極目標,正如柏拉圖所說,就是學習如何度過自己的一生。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選E。
                    10.[選詞填空]Montaigne tended to act in the spirit of the humanities by doubting received opinionsand questioning his knowledge.
                      • 解題思路:題干意為,蒙田傾向于通過質疑普遍接受的觀點和質問自己的知識來踐行人文學科的精神。根據題干中的關鍵詞Montaigne和the spirit of the humanities可定位到F段。該段倒數第二句指出,當蒙田對人們普遍接受的觀點提出質疑,并問自己到底知道什么,不知道什么時,他正在踐行人文學科的精神。由此可知,題干是對原文的同義轉述,故選F。
                      大學英語六級在線題庫
                      • 參考答案:A,I,H,K,G,C,J,F,E,F
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