The Moral Collapse of the University

Professionalism, Purity, and Alienation

By Bruce Wilshire

Subjects: Philosophy Of Education
Series: SUNY series, The Philosophy of Education
Paperback : 9780791401972, 320 pages, April 1990
Hardcover : 9780791401965, 320 pages, October 1989

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Table of contents




Part One: The Academic Professional: Problems of Self-Knowledge and Education

I. Alienation

II. What is the Educating Act?

III. Crisis of Authority and Identity: The Inevitability of Professionalism

IV. The Professionalization of the University

Part Two: Academic Professionalism and Identity: Rites of Purification and Exclusion

V. A Specimen Case of Professionalizing a Field of Learning: Philosophy

VI. Eccentricities and Distortions of Academic Professionalism

VII. Academic Professionalism as a Veiled Purification Ritual

VIII. Pollution Phenomena: John Dewey's Encounter with Body-Self

Part Three: Reorganizing the University

IX. Revolutionary Thought of the Early Twentieth Century: Reintegrating Self and World and a New Foundation for Humane Knowledge

X. The Reactionary Response of Positivism: Cementing Purification, Professionalism Segmentation in the University

XI. Recovering from Positivism and Reorganizing the University

XII. Reclaiming the Vision of Education: Redefining Definition, Identity, Gender




"Make no mistake about it, this is a very powerful work. It is a brilliant and penetrating analysis of one of the most serious problems of our time, i.e., the University's loss of integrity and the consequent vulgarization of our intellectual life. It is a liberal response to Bloom, not just a dismissal." -- Philip L. Smith, The Ohio State University

"Bruce Wilshire's The Moral Collapse of the University: Professionalism, Purity, and Alienation is a brilliant and timely analysis of the misguided mission of the modern university. Through a close description of the actual situations of teaching and research, he is able to unveil the deeper roots of problems whose surface symptoms have been felt by students and teachers alike. He finds these roots to lie in suppressed features of the academic environment -- features that reflect unacknowledged beliefs about the body-self and emotional reality -- and he brings to the light of day the unsuspected presence of purification rituals on the part of professional educators. Instead of simply decrying the phenomenon, he goes on to indicate constructive directions for changing the university in ways that more faithfully reflect the actual needs and desires of all who attempt to learn in a humane manner. This book moves the ongoing debate about the fate of higher education in America onto a new plane, taking a significant step beyond Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind." -- Edward S. Casey, State University of New York, Stony Brook

"Bruce Wilshire's The Moral Collapse of the University goes to the heart of the matter. No mincing of words here. It is an important book that deserves to be read and studied by anybody concerned about education today." -- William Barrett, New York University