One of the problems with modern education, it seems to me, is that we no longer know why we go to school. Is it to get good jobs? To join the fellowship of educated men and women? To become a well-rounded person? To stay off the streets?

A new book, “Excellence without a Soul,” raises some important questions about contemporary universities. An article today in Opinion Journal discusses the book:

“The core of this book, though, is a defense of the idea that universities should be about something. What makes an educated person? Unfortunately, too many professors and administrators, if they ever bother to think about it, would have difficulty answering the question beyond the pabulum found in most university brochures.

“So how does Harvard define an educated person? A Harvard education, the university states, ‘must provide a broad introduction to the knowledge needed in an increasingly global and connected, yet simultaneously diverse and fragmented world.’ Mr. Lewis, rightfully dismissive, notes that the school never actually says what kind of knowledge is ‘needed.’ The words are meaningless blather, he says, proving that ‘Harvard no longer knows what a good education is.'”