On the Idea of a University
Published: December 1972© 1972
106 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.27 in
Starting from Newman`s concept of the university as a place of liberal education, Professor Cameron examines how today`s university functions, what its aims should be and what its strengths and deficiencies are, and presents some proposals for reform. He argues that liberal education, in which knowledge is pursued for its own sake as well as for the advantages it may bring, should remain the core of university studies, although he emphasizes that natural science and the technologies, as well as the traditional art subjects, may be studied liberally in the university. In the course of a rich and broad-ranging discussion, he singles out parasensical discourse – a kind of curious verbal play, neither sense nor nonsense, designed to inculcate attitudes, not convey information – as a symptom of the crisis in the university today. Cameron`s trenchant analysis of it and of the serious ills that it represents is particularly relevant to an understanding of the controversy surrounding modern university education.
The four lectures in this volume were originally delivered to mark the sesquicentennial of the University of Toronto and the 125th anniversary of Saint Michael`s College. The occasion, Cameron writes, `gave me a chance to consider the nature and spirit of the institution within which I have spent most of my working life.
At a time when the value of university education is being questioned, Cameron provides a fresh perspective on the university`s purpose, its form, and its future. The volume is published in association with the University of Saint Michael`s College by University of Toronto Press.