Reclaiming the ‘science’ in Moral Science
Should education free the mind or confine it to comprehend normativity [A clue to accepted thinking, perhaps can be found in the popular use of the term ‘human resources’ when dealing with education!]? Should teaching preserve knowledge while research prises it open? Are brick and mortar institutions the founts of inquiry or is the churning that happens in the world at large the real provocation? If the latter, does academia give the causal dynamics sufficient credence, and if the former, how influential are the investigations?
In some intangible way it is almost taken as a given that to be learned is to be wise is and therefore is to be moral. That to be educated is to be cultured, erudite, is a conviction so strong as to make these terms synonymous, and interlink the ideas they represent. But is it the same to be above greed and above hatred as it is to be susceptible to and yet not swayed by these emotions? To think in the affirmative, it appears, would be delusional, and hence directly in conflict with our definition of that which is moral. If material concerns may not sway scholarship, are scholars to be or not to be a part of this material world?
The field of education – be it teaching or research – is chockful of confounding conundrums that seem to have been simply swept aside as inconsequential. At least so it appears to the non-academic ‘other’. Smugly sanctimonious, though not universally so [the universe here being the academic community], this large cohort that appropriates the term ‘intelligentsia’ to itself would probably be the most difficult to bring within the fold of the science of morals – simply because it would take some convincing to make them step back and see themselves as part of society [and therefore susceptible to its foibles] rather than apart from [and even above] it in some way.
[To be continued]