After one of the hurricanes that hit Wilmington NC a few years ago, I went out to talk with the young technician who was reconnecting a loose wire, electric or something like that, to my house. In the course of the conversation he learned that I teach philosophy and asked, a bit deridingly, what philosophy is good for. My answer, that the content of the American Constitution is shaped by ideas of philosophers, stunned him. Since then he brought to my house every new girlfriend in order to boast that he was acquainted with a philosopher.
While contemplating the changes taking place in East Europe and the world at large it occurred to me that the world and the university were moving in opposite directions.
UNCW AAUP CHAPTER NEWSLETTER
It is quite likely that in the annals of UNCW the current Fall semester will be inscribed as the most crucial in the history of this university.
When I started this website, some twenty years ago, I was aware of the fact that we would be facing a major change in all aspects of life. It seems that I was not far from the truth as the fact is I didn’t have to change any word in the original “welcome” introduction and it is still as valid today as it was then. I have to admit that at the time I believed that the drive for change would be propelled by the continuous discoveries in science, especially physics and astronomy. Such discoveries that swiped us away from a three dimensional into a four dimensional world while discovering the expanding universe with its black holes, dark matter and the inner structure of overt material. I believed that such widening of our cosmic neighborhood would place us in a completely new position in regard to the universe. There was no question in my mind that such discoveries would compel us to redefine the nature of the human race, its position and role in the world and its relationship with the cosmos at large. I also was sure that this would necessarily lead to the establishment of different kind of institutions that would facilitate dealings with the new reality. To my surprise the old institutional structures, or at least their shells, proved to be more stable than I expected. The result was that a gradual anticipated change turned into swift centrifugal movement, demolishing the interiors of old political and social structures and even tossing people away to the moon and beyond. I didn’t anticipate that the leading factors would be mainly in the spheres of information and communication. However, (it seems there is always a however in everything), it so happened that lately I watched on TV a discussion about the role of colleges, followed by a few newspaper and magazine articles on this topic. And, it whetted my appetite, enough to throw in my two pennies worth of reflections on this topic, in spite of the fact that it has been a while since I personally taught in a college or closely followed recent publications on this topic.