Friday, August 23, 2013

Michael Oakeshott on higher education

From the philosopher Michael Oakeshott (1901–1990):

A university will have ceased to exist when its learning has degenerated into what is now called research, when its teaching has become mere instruction and occupies the whole of an undergraduate’s time, and when those who came to be taught come, not in search of their intellectual fortune but with a vitality so unroused or so exhausted that they wish only to be provided with a serviceable moral and intellectual outfit; when they come with no understanding of the manners of conversation but desire only a qualification for earning a living or a certificate to let them in on the exploitation of the world.

“The Idea of a University” (1950), in The Voice of Liberal Learning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).

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