Sales about thinking

A cross between intellectual and outsider as I am, I strongly support those university staff and students who are resisting the marketization of universities. Thinking, knowledge, and argument as products could never be trustworthy however cleverly they are marketed.

But having said that, I worry about the philosophical underpinning of the opponents’ case in terms of citizenship of an (academic) ‘republic’. Republics are fine provided they respect persons and free thought – which, of course, the advocates of the academic republic fully intend. Yet there is a warning in the form of frequent abuses and persecutions coming courtesy of people who consider themselves loyal members, employees, or indeed citizens, of states, corporations, movements, and the like. The most important point is not citizenship as such, but whether the ‘citizens’ are ready to step back and think about what their side wants them to do. If academic corporations are to do battle with commercial corporations they may find that they need to accept a dose of ‘liberal individualism’ in thinking – and even property as regards ‘intellectual’ property rights claimed by the commercial corporations.

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