Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I'm not sure how appropriate it is to compare the university to a religion, but that may only be because I never completed my PhD. To be sure, I put in the work - I passed all my comprehensive exams, I wrote my book-length contribution of original knowledge. But I wouldn't bow down to my masters. I couldn't be inducted into what Paul Yachnin calls "the Church of Knowledge". How could I? To pass my PhD in my field, I had to extend the definition of knowledge - that's what (some) philosophers do. But I couldn't then acknowledge the supremacy of the old definition of knowledge. Maybe it's inevitable that the university will produce its own Martin Luthers. Maybe it's also inevitable that it will exile them. And maybe, consequently, Yachnin's vision of "a new knowledge ecology around universities as the hub" might be less welcome than he imagines.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Oct 21, 2020 11:17 p.m.