Newman was convinced that the mental refinement that comes from literary and philosophical training is something good in itself, quite apart from its utility. But he added that, far from being useless, an education of this sort would equip the student to enter many walks of life. Whether one becomes a soldier, a statesman, a lawyer, or a physician, one will need the ability to think clearly, to organize one’s knowledge, and to articulate one’s ideas so as to deal effectively with the questions at hand. A narrowly professional or vocational program of training would therefore fail the test of pragmatic usefulness, not to mention the additional test of liberal knowledge as its own end.
Albert Jay Nock makes this same point in The System of Education in the United States. An educated mind, according to Nock, is an experienced mind, experienced by having become acquainted with history and literature and art.