University – uses and obligations

Tadeusz Sławek


The essay proposes a reading of Johann Gottlieb Fichte's 1794 lectures on the role of the scholar delivered at the university in Jena and Jacob Taubes' 1970s texts dedicated to the university and its positioning vis-á-vis other institutions of modern society. We are trying to argue that the university has to constantly redefine modes of its functioning in the market-driven reality with its growing pressure on the demands of narrowly understood labour market and bureaucratic efficiency of management. Thus, one of the obligations of the university is to critically assess the demands of the politico-techno-bureaucratic machinery in order not to plainly reject them but to be able to modify and change them to the degree to which they could accommodate the principal obligation of the university, which is – good and wise teaching. Hence, we need to remind politicians that the fundamental task of the university has always been (as the example of Pierre Abelard, also discussed in the essay, demonstrates) humanist culture in and upon which future professional excellence of the student and then graduate is grounded.


university, politics, obligation; usefulness; teaching; humanism

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