What Is Freedom & How Do We Cultivate It?

Zena Hitz + David Townsend

Liberal education is education for freedom. What kind of freedom does it or should it cultivate? Freedom without discipline is anarchy, and life without freedom is tyranny—or so says Annapolis tutor David Townsend, who joins host Zena Hitz in this probing conversation into the nature of freedom, the ways in which individuals and communities can cultivate it, and the need for self-discipline in tempering our freedoms. The two also discuss how a liberal education can free minds from the prejudices connatural to all human communities, and how the St. John’s education strives to do just that.

In this Episode

  • David Townsend
    Guest David Townsend

    David Townsend is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, he is exploring Archimedes in freshman laboratory, practicing attentive listening in sophomore music, and reading Chaucer in sophomore seminar.

  • Zena Hitz
    Host Zena Hitz

    Zena Hitz (A95) is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, she is performing Lavoisier's experiments in freshman laboratory, reading English poetry in sophomore language, and pondering Machiavelli in sophomore seminar.

Featured Release

Socrates says that the intellectual practice of philosophy is a practice for dying. But what if the body is the vessel that can best prepare us for the end of life? In this episode, martial artists (and Santa Fe tutors) Krishnan Venkatesh and Claudia Hauer explore the problem of the philosophical separation of mind and body through the lens of two essayists—the 13th-century Japanese author Dogen and the 16th-century French essayist Montaigne.

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Executive Producers Welcome

Continuing the Conversation was funded through the philanthropy of donors to St. John’s College. If you’d like to give to the college’s Annual Fund, your gift will go to support the kinds of inquiry and conversation that comes to life at St. John’s College. It also frees up money for creative projects like this one, which brings great conversation and great books into homes across the world.


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