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What are Universities For?, Stefan Collini

March 17, 2012

Via Scoop.itMore … or less!

“One neat, but therefore only partly adequate, formulation says that while schoolchildren are taught, university students study. Undergraduates are being introduced to the modes of enquiry appropriate to various disciplines; what they develop, ideally, is not simply mastery of a body of information, but the capacity to challenge or extend the received understanding of a particular topic. For this reason, university teaching has more than its share of the paradox involved in telling someone to ‘be autonomous!’ Learning what is involved in conducting enquiry in a certain discipline partly grows out of being exposed to examples of such work and then being incited, not to reproduce them, but to produce a piece of work of one’s own that is informed by having come to understand what the examples are examples of. This can only be done by becoming acquainted with work in a particular discipline: simply being exhorted in general to pursue truth, cultivate accuracy, express oneself clearly, and so on, will not achieve the desired goal, though being encouraged to subject those abstract expressions themselves to analytical scrutiny might conceivably be the beginnings of an education in philosophy.”

[p. 9]

(via @adfig)

If you want to read, for some reason, my opinion on the subject, you can go to my other blog (as far as you can read portuguese, sorry): “Something to think about”


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