Abstract

The dominant ideal of the American university is to excel in research. To this end it has organized itself in terms of academic disciplines. These discourage critical thought. Their goal of good research could be realized in the context of intellectual inquiry. But the most prestigious universities today are those that have most fully rejected this alternative. The liberal arts colleges that hire their graduates have great difficulty maintaining the tradition of liberal arts. Concern for the holistic development of students is in tension with studies that aim to be “value free.” Value free research is done for the highest bidder. There is no place in the university for discussing its assumptions or those of the academic disciplines that make up its curriculum. Even if academic disciplines operate on mutually inconsistent assumptions, the university does not consider this worthy of study. The experts produced by the anti-intellectual university contribute more to the global crisis than to a positive response.

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