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How Universities Have Betrayed Reason and Humanity—And What's to Be Done About It

Maxwell, N; (2021) How Universities Have Betrayed Reason and Humanity—And What's to Be Done About It. Frontiers in Sustainability , 2 , Article 631631. 10.3389/frsus.2021.631631. Green open access

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Abstract

In 1984 the author published From Knowledge to Wisdom, a book that argues that a revolution in academia is urgently needed, so that problems of living, including global problems, are put at the heart of the enterprise, and the basic aim becomes to seek and promote wisdom, and not just acquire knowledge. Every discipline and aspect of academia needs to change, and the whole way in which academia is related to the rest of the social world. Universities devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how betray reason and, as a result, betray humanity. As a result of becoming more intellectually rigorous, academic inquiry becomes of far greater benefit to humanity. If the revolution argued for all those years ago had been taken up and put into academic practice, we might now live in a much more hopeful world than the one that confronts us. Humanity might have begun to learn how to solve global problems; the Amazon rain forests might not face destruction; we might not be faced with mass extinction of species; Brexit might not have been voted for in the UK in 2016, and Trump might not have been elected President in the USA. An account is given of work published by the author during the years 1972–2021 that expounds and develops the argument. The conclusion is that we urgently need to create a high-profile campaign devoted to transforming universities in the way required so that humanity may learn how to make social progress toward a better, wiser, more civilized, enlightened world.

Type: Article
Title: How Universities Have Betrayed Reason and Humanity—And What's to Be Done About It
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/frsus.2021.631631
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/frsus.2021.631631
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Maxwell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: knowledge, wisdom, enlightenment, reason, scientific progress, social progress, academic revolution
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127063
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