As she spoke to new University of Chicago students on Thursday night,, Assoc. Prof. Agnes Callard asked the Class of 2026 to consider a world centuries into the future.
Callard explained, from the pulpit in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, that the thought exercise can help add context to the purpose and broader legacy of UChicago students’ educational pursuits.
“A lot of the time when people like me address people like you, we are moved to speak of the future that you will live to see and we won’t,” said the philosophy scholar Sept. 22 during her Aims of Education address. “The future I’m referring to starts about a hundred and eighty years from now, and runs for a few thousand years after that … It’s a future none of us will live to see, and no one we know will live to see it.”
The Aims of Education is an annual address given by a distinguished faculty member to undergraduates at the onset of their UChicago education, and it models the style of learning students can soon expect to see in their classrooms. Callard, AB’97, recalls sitting in Rockefeller Chapel and listening to Aims of Education as a first-year student—when she intended to major in physics(she now specializes in ancient philosophy and ethics).