The web and the stiffening of criteria

As knowledge becomes increasingly available to all.

As millions of books are scanned and put online.

As anyone can learn anything anywhere.

… what then of Academia?

Scarcity is the mother of value. If academia looses its intrinsic value as a place of knowledge then it must find other ways to secure its value.

This is done by stiffening the criteria for recruiting staff.

More publications, more study stretches abroad, more references, and of-course, more politics – externalities rule, and tertiary institutions rear their head in splendor and scoff at colleges, and everyone scoffs at the “unvalidated” knowledge of the cloud…

Oh yes, invalid knowledge… what sayest thou?

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From sophia to sophistry

Undoubtedly, many of the charades and presumptions of academia hinge on a variety of logical fallacies, which may be more aptly described as logical strategies in this context as they serve to deliver content in a way that gains academic standing.

How simple it would be to root out some of the more widespread fallacies posturing as academic research and science – some of them so elementary that students of elementary logic could easily point to them.

Logic, however is no longer considered an essential item in the education of young men and women on the way up. Indeed, had the three classic liberal arts of grammar, rhetoric and logic been mandatory, few of the articles that now pass as the accepted oeuvre of the liberal arts disciplines would have managed to get by.

So the basic knowledge of how one may express oneself well, and especially how to guard oneself from crafty rhetoric and convoluted logic – has become a lost art.

Rather than Sophia – wisdom, academia is now the champion of sophistry – anything goes – and if it is just rhetorical hype and contradictory logic – all the better – for nuggety aporias are all the rage.



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The spirit of an age

The spirit of an age becomes the default perspective for all. 

The mechanical view/ the modern perspective/ the post-modernist turn

All have their implications.

Previous views are not removed but submerged. The perspectives held by a society’s elite become the prevailing ones, while other perspectives are relegated to more traditional segments of society.

So while the men of letters slowly became disenchanted, the peasantry still believed in witchery

And while humanists became disenchanted, capitalists still funded mechanical production lines.  

And while postmodernism is the inevitable worldview of the academically trained, it is just a veneer on the vibrant body of the people, who, alas, as viewed from the prevailing perspective are no more than underprivileged Phillistines, to be pitied (or considered “challenged” under the politically-correct imperatives of the prevailing perspective) but ultimately scorned.

What are the implications of the postmodern turn in a many-layered society where only the elite, the more finely educated, are imbued with the proper perspective regarding the ultimate truth regarding the absence of any ultimate truth?

Which, by the way, is quite a classic theological way to look at things.

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