Transformed universities help transform the world
Credit: World Scientific
At present universities are devoted to the acquisition of specialized knowledge and technological know-how. They fail to do what they most need to do: help the public acquire a good understanding of what our problems are, what needs to be done to solve them. Universities do not even conceive of their task in that way. The result is that the public, by and large, fails to appreciate just how serious the problems that face us are, and so fails to put pressure on governments to act in the ways that are required.
Modern science and technology make possible modern industry and agriculture, modern power production and travel, modern hygiene and medicine, modern armaments: these in turn have led to much that is of great benefit, but also to the global problems that threaten our future. Science divorced from the capacity to solve problems of living wisely is a disaster. It is that disaster that academia, as at present constituted, is designed to produce – and has produced: the modern world. We have to learn how to solve the grave global problems that confront us. That in turn requires that our institutions of learning – our schools and universities – are designed and devoted to the job. At present they are not. In giving priority to the pursuit of knowledge, they fail to do what most needs to be done and, even worse, are the source of our problems. It is absolutely vital, for the future of humanity, that universities are transformed radically so that they give absolute priority to the all-important task of helping the public come to understand what our problems are, and what we need to do about them. And as a result get governments to act.
The book demonstrates that universities as at present constituted violate reason and, as a result, betray humanity. Cure universities of their structural irrationality, and they would come actively to promote actions required to solve global problems, and help humanity make progress toward a better world. The book spells out in detail the changes that need to be made to academic inquiry, why they need to be made, and how they would enable universities to empower humanity to solve current global problems.
Everyone should read this book – academics, the public, politicians, climate scientists, business people, teachers, six-formers, Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. The World Crisis — And What to Do About It: A Revolution for Thought and Action retails for US$28 / £25 (paperback) and US$58 / £50 (hardcover) and is also available in electronic formats. To order or know more about the book, visit http://www.
About the Author
Nicholas Maxwell is Emeritus Reader at University College London, UK, where he taught Philosophy of Science for nearly 30 years. He has devoted much of his working life to advocating that there is an urgent need to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, so that it seeks to promote wisdom rather than just acquire knowledge. In 2003, he founded Friends of Wisdom, an association of people sympathetic to the idea that academic inquiry should help humanity acquire more wisdom by rational means. He has also published on many diverse subjects such as scientific method, the rationality of science, the philosophy of the natural and social sciences, the humanities, quantum theory, causation, the mind-body problem, aesthetics, and moral philosophy. He is the author of 14 books and over 100 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He has discussed his work on BBC Radio 4 “Start the Week” and on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Ideas” Programme, as well as lectured in universities and at conferences all over the UK, Europe, USA, and Canada. His books have been widely reviewed, and his work was prominently explored by twelve scholars in Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell
About World Scientific Publishing Co.
World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 140 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit http://www.
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