Colleges and Universities today

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Colleges and Universities today

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


On Feb 27, 2004, at 7:16 AM, Thoth Hermes wrote:
I wonder if your hostility to scholarship is rooted in your perception of art history's maltreatment of representational art? If so you're making the mistake of taking the part for the whole.

I'm not hostile to scholarship at all. I just don't consider the kind of incoherent ramblings that pass for scholarship in universities today to be genuine scholarship at all. This really doesn't have anything to do with the problems in art history though. The same kind of problem is endemic in the all of the humanities and has even crept into the sciences to a lesser degree. I think that the origins of this problem in part arise from the rise of the PhD as a sort of "union card" in the university, and the aspect of the PhD that demands that young academics discover something "original". In some areas (particularly in history) the only way to come up with something truly new is to adopt some kind of sophistic approach that leaves the facts and reason behind in pursuit of an arena where novelty can be rediscovered at every turn. The problem also arises from the academic trend away from the goal of achieving an understanding of the world (as was generally the case before the world wars) and toward the goal of advancing in the closed world of the ivory tower, generally by gaining fame or at least infamy.

Sophism is great for that purpose, but terrible at developing and conveying information about reality.

-- Brian