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What are Universities For? (Paperback), Stefan Collini (2012)

March 25, 2012

Via Scoop.itMore … or less!

“In the face of this, one has to make, over and over again the obvious point that a society does not educate the next generation in order for them to contribute to its economy. It educates them in order that they should extend and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world, acquiring, in the course of this form of growing up, kinds of knowledge and skill which will be useful in their eventual employment, but which will no more be the sum of their education than that employment will be the sum of their lives. And this general point about education takes a particular form in universities, where, whatever level of professional or vocational ‘training’ is also undertaken, the governing purpose involves extending human understanding through open-ended enquiry. From wholly laudable motives, we constantly fall into the trap of justifying an activity — one initially (and perhaps for long thereafter) undertaken because of its intrinsic interest and worth — as something which we do because it yields incidental benefits which are popular with those not in a position to appreciate the activity’s intrinsic interest and worth. If we find ourselves saying that what is valuable about learning to play the violin well is that it helps us develop the manual dexterity that will be useful for typing, then we are stuck in a traffic-jam of carts in front of horses.”

(p. 91)

Via www.bookdepository.co.uk

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