University, Inclusion and Intellectual Warfare

By Marianna Papastephanou.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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W. V. Humboldt’s idea of the university and the humanist educational ideal of Bildung that grounded it emphasized an all-round cultivation of human capability over any narrow preparation for professional life or scientific, specialized research. The vision of the university thus promoted was one of inclusion of various disciplines of knowledge and of regulation of the conflict of the faculties (as I. Kant had already anticipated). Given this background, the paper discusses the university as a space where the tension between the ideal and the real is deployed by means of various inclusions and exclusions. Some of them occur at a very practical level, e.g. when everyday academic decisions, staff recruitments, allocations of funding, setting of priorities, and so on, reflect outlooks on what counts as worthwhile research, worth-pursuing lines of development and discourses worthy of inclusion. At a more theoretical level, academics include and exclude when they confront intellectual choice of research focus and material within their discipline as well as in their interdisciplinary aspirations. It is argued in the paper that, much against the vision of inclusive universality that purportedly grounds the university, academia often succumbs to an exclusivist intellectual warfare with crucial theoretical and practical implications. Drawing from J. Habermas, J. Derrida and A. Badiou, the paper concludes with some discussion of the kind of polemics that might be permissible and fruitful within scientific communities in contradistinction to the above-mentioned intellectual warfare that imposes on academic routine disabling, unnecessary, and ultimately unproductive and damaging battles.

Keywords: Academia, Inclusion, Exclusion, Interdisciplinarity, Philosophy

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.139-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 232.137KB).

Dr. Marianna Papastephanou

Associate Professor, Department of Education, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Dr. Marianna Papastephanou has studied and researched in Cardiff, Wales and Berlin, Germany and taught at Cardiff University. She is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Cyprus, Department of Education. She is the editor of K. O. Apel: From a Transcendental-Semiotic Point of View (1998, Manchester University Press), the author of Educated Fear and Educated Hope (2009, Sense Publishers) and of numerous articles on the Frankfurt School, political philosophy, postmodernism and education from a continental-philosophical point of view.


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