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Ilana Schulder

We've all been in Butler's reference room, but few of us look up and see Francis Bacon's famous words emblazoned high on the ceiling. Derek Turner is one of those few. While the rest of us slave away at our work, eyes down, heads in our books (or computer screens), losing perspective of the bigger existential picture, Derek—true scholar that he is—looks up and questions.

Columbia's campus is full of icons that supposedly represent its mission in some vague, tortured way. There is a reason that McKim, Mead & White incorporated symmetry and neoclassical design in the campus. Likewise there is a reason that Daniel Chester French chose to depict Athena—goddess of wisdom—in Alma Mater. Yet we seldom question the validity of these icons as representative of Columbia's educational mission.

We can think about one of them today.

Lanbo Zhang
Editorial Page Editor

The adage “a man is but what he knoweth” is engraved in gold lettering above Butler's Reference Room. Do we agree with this assessment?

  • Beyond Bacon by James Chappel

    • More than knowledge by Douglas Chalmers

      • A man is but who he knoweth by Derek Turner

        • We are fact, or are we by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

          The Canon runs every other Wednesday and is dedicated to the discussion of Columbia's perennial problems. Its prompts feature questions that we should repeatedly ask and constantly answer. While we may never come to firm resolutions, either collectively or individually, the belief is that there is some merit to the discussion itself.
The Canon campus Butler alma mater
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