We Need an Academic Revolution

Oxford Magazine (309):15-18 (2011)
Abstract
Universities today betray both reason and humanity. They are still dominated by the idea, inherited from the past, that the best way the academic enterprise can help promote human welfare is, in the first instance, to pursue the intellectual aim of acquiring knowledge. First, knowledge and technological know-how are to be acquired; then, secondarily, they can be applied to help solve social problems. But academic inquiry conducted in this way – knowledge-inquiry as it may be called – violates the most elementary rules of reason that one can think of and, as a result, betrays the interests of humanity. We need a revolution in academia, one which puts problems of living at the heart of academic inquiry, and takes the basic aim to be to seek and promote wisdom, construed to be the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge, but much else besides.
Keywords the university  wisdom  reason  scientific method  global problems  natural science  social inquiry  education
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