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Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?$
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Akeel Bilgrami and Jonathan Cole

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168809

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168809.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 17 February 2020

What’s so Special about Academic Freedom?

What’s so Special about Academic Freedom?

(p.97) 7 What’s so Special about Academic Freedom?
Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?

Michele Moody-Adams

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines conflicting values as they affect questions of academic freedom. It begins with an overview of the fundamental elements of academic freedom and how to determine when academic freedom has actually been abused. It then discusses the notion of academic nonneutrality, along with the role of intellectual diversity and academic freedom in contemporary academic life. It argues that the practices of exclusion that are central to academic freedom must be understood as the defining practices of a professional guild. It also describes the conditions under which it is reasonable to invest public trust in the authority of the guild, and offers a detailed account of the legitimate exercise of academic freedom. Finally, it explores one of the social goods that academic freedom underwrites: the opportunity for academic inquiry that enhances capacity to respond constructively to human diversity. The chapter asserts that freedom of speech and academic freedom must be justified on very different grounds and concludes that the benefits of protecting academic freedom far outweigh any potential dangers.

Keywords:   academic freedom, exclusion, professional guild, social good, academic inquiry, freedom of speech, academic nonneutrality, intellectual diversity, public trust

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