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ERIC Number: EJ951378
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Scholasticism: Causes and Cures
Mead, Lawrence M.
Academic Questions, v24 n3 p300-318 Sep 2011
The claim that faculty conduct research is one of the main justifications for the modern university. Supposedly, academe carries out important, cutting-edge inquiries in which society has an interest. In fact, states this author, research at American universities is becoming narrow and artificial, out of touch with social realities, and of interest mainly to other academics. This development the author calls scholasticism, after the medieval philosophers whom one remembers as being similarly ingrown. In recent decades, conservative critics of academe have focused on political correctness--the tendency of academics to privilege liberal perspectives to the exclusion of conservative ones. But scholasticism may pose a greater threat to the heart of university life, which is the intelligent construction of arguments. Rather than address important issues thoughtfully, today's academics are becoming pedants, mostly writing only for other specialists. Scholasticism is squeezing the intellectual life out of academe, and driving it toward other venues, including government and the blogosphere. In this article, the author describes the rise of scholasticism and asks about causes and cures: Why has obscurantism mushroomed in recent decades, and what can be done about it? He relies mostly on the trends he has seen in his own department and at New York University over more than thirty years. (Contains 35 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; United States