The urgent need for an academic revolution: the rational pursuit of wisdom

Nicholas Maxwell (2009) The urgent need for an academic revolution: the rational pursuit of wisdom, in Tandy, C, (ed.) Nine Hundred Years After St. Anselm (1033-1109), pp. 211-238, Ria University Press, Palto Alto, California. Available online at

We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the AIDS epidemic (AIDS being spread by modern travel). All these global problems, involving preventable deaths of millions, have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act without acquiring the capacity to act wisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather to help humanity acquire the capacity to resolve conflicts and problems of living in more cooperatively rational ways. The revolution we need would affect every branch and aspect of academic inquiry.

(My publication)Posted:Oct 31 2009, 06:00 PM by NickMaxwell
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