{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}


Reading24-MacIntyre-TheVeryIdeaOfAUniversity - British...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
British Journal of Educational Studies, ISSN 0007-1005 DOI number: 10.1111/j.1467-8527.2009.00443.x Vol. 57 , No. 4 , December 2009 , pp 347–362 347 © 2009 The Author Journal compilation © 2009 SES. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishing Ltd Oxford, UK BJES British Journal of Educational Studies 0007-1005 1467-8527 © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and SES 2009 XXX ORIGINAL ARTICLE THE VERY IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY THE VERY IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY: ARISTOTLE, NEWMAN, AND US by Alasdair MacIntyre , University of Notre Dame, Indiana USA I The case that hostile critics have urged against Newman’s The Idea of a University is impressive. J.M. Roberts wrote nearly twenty years ago that ‘it is no longer possible to write a book with such a title ... no general doctrine of universities is possible’ (‘ The Idea of a University revisited’ in Newman after a Hundred Years , edd. Ian Ker and Alan G. Hill, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990, p. 222). And Bill Reddings later argued that Newman’s conception of the university curriculum reflected a kind of literary culture that ‘held together diverse specialities in a unity’, a type of culture that no longer exists and that it is impossible to recreate ( The University in Ruins , Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 167). Those two critics could not have been more at odds with each other, Roberts being a distinguished member of the British University establishment, yet the two of them in agreement on Newman’s irrelevance. What is held to make Newman irrelevant to the concerns of those now at work in universities are three of his central affirmations, each entailing the denial of a conviction central to the functioning of contemporary universities. So why does that make Newman’s claims irrelevant rather than just false? It is because, on the view taken by his critics, it is not only that Newman’s idea of a university fails to hold true of contemporary universities, but that anyone who thought that it might hold true would have grossly misunderstood the nature and functioning of the contemporary university. To criticise contem- porary universities from Newman’s standpoint would be, on their view, like blaming a jet engine for not having the excellences of a windmill. What then are the three matters on which what Newman says is taken to be at once false and irrelevant? The first is his conception of the unity of knowledge, or more accurately of the unity of under- standing, of how each academic discipline contributes the knowledge of some particular aspect or part of the universe, so that in the
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
THE VERY IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY 348 © 2009 The Author Journal compilation © 2009 SES search for understanding we need to study not only a number of different disciplines – physics, physiology, history, literature, mathematics, psychology – but also how each of these bears on the others, what the relationships between them are ( The Idea of a University , ed.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 16

Reading24-MacIntyre-TheVeryIdeaOfAUniversity - British...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon bookmark
Ask a homework question - tutors are online