Wednesday, May 27, 2015


We can get a good sense of what we think knowledge is by looking at the way our universities are organised. After all, these are institutions that are supposed to produce and distribute—or, if you prefer, create and conserve—knowledge in society. To be sure, we are talking about a particular kind of knowledge, which we call "academic" or "scientific", but this kind is, in turn, normally taken to set a rather high standard in this regard. If the way universities have traditionally been organised makes any sense at all, then there is a kind of knowledge that is best produced by (more or less) dedicated faculty working at full time jobs, to be distributed to (more or less) dedicated students pursuing multi-year programs of study. It is the sort of thing that can be discussed by the faculty at conferences and in journal articles, and can be imparted to students in classes and books, tested with various kinds of examination. In recognition of these school-like conditions, we call the maintenance of this kind of knowledge "scholarship".

(180 words)

[§2 here.]

[Note: this post is part of an ongoing project described here.]

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