The Obligations Of Academic Freedom

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2006

Published In

Minnesota Review


Burke argues that the best defense of academic freedom is not that it is a right, but that it is the key to the productivity and usefulness of higher education. Innovation and creativity within universities is strongly enhanced by the general provision of autonomy to individual faculty members. Centralized hierarchies tend to suppress or discourage innovation, originality and independent critical thought. Burke finds that one of the odder ironies of the debate about academic freedom is that some of the critics who posture as conservatives end up favoring much more centralized systems of organizational control.

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