ERIC Number: EJ788955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb-29
Reference Count: 0
Not to Complicate Matters, but ...
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n25 pB5 Feb 2008
The writer discusses the current academic enthrallment with complicating seemingly every aspect of every event or phenomenon, arguing that the fashion elevates confusion from a transitional stage into an end goal. Rather than scholarly clarification, says Jacoby, people celebrate the fact that everything can be "problematized," rejoicing in debunking binary approaches, and applauding themselves for recognizing (once again) that everything varies by circumstances. People have moved away from a belief that truth can be set out at all, but that it varies according to time and place for all situations. The writer cites one university's official examination booklet that includes a credo that students must sign testifying to their honesty. However, underneath the signature attesting that academic dishonesty has not been committed, the credo continues, offering alternatives to academic dishonesty. What, asks the writer, alternatives other than honesty can there be for dishonesty? Jacoby does not defend simplification for the sake of simplification, but does point out that binary logic itself is not the culprit, noting the irony that binary logic structures the computers on which most attacks on binary logic are composed. In a consistent mode, he says, complexity for its own sake is no virtue, and that what he terms a "cult of complication" has led to "a fog in which all cows are gray."
Descriptors: Educational Administration, Ethics, Cultural Influences, Cheating, Higher Education, Integrity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A